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Introducing bast hurd into the mass produced plastic supply chain reducing both plastic waste and carbon emissions during production.

This project seeks to replace a percentage of plastic materials for bottle caps and tear off tubs.

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Manufacturing processes of bottle caps and tear away tubs rely on the use of non-renewable resources for production. The production of these materials creates large amounts of effluent during the manufacturing process. End of life for these products generally cannot be recycled or are left in landfills, degrading not as quickly as the world would like. For the purposes is this project Sunstrand is proposing to introduce natural bast hurd such as hemp, flax, and kenaf into the production process. These materials would not replace the entire Polyethylene/Polypropylene cap/tub but rather offset a significant fraction of the polymer material with biodegradable micronized hurd filler. Bast hurd is comprised of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin; 100% biodegradable and can be easily introduced into composite/plastic component manufacturing techniques with little to no modification required by the manufacturer. The small step of replacing some of a widely mass produced item with biomaterials will be an evolutionary step towards less plastic waste generation, easily adoptable by current manufacturing processes.

Compounding of thermoplastics is a common practice whereby virgin polymers are mixed with a variety of additives to yield variations to the performance of manufacturability of plastic parts. Incorporating biomaterials such as hurd particulates or natural fibers inconveniences manufacturers very little allowing for an easier transition more environmentally friendly products. The increase of filler composition will decrease the amount of matrix material, polymers such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP). All these types of polymers are used for cap/tub production and require a significant amount of energy for production, See table in visuals. Sunstrand’s analysis of its own production practices uses only 0.670 MMBtu/ton of energy and not reflecting the carbon sequestered during the plant growth cycle. Chemical and petroleum based products cannot sequester carbon out of the air, unlike bast plants which absorb roughly 0.79 kg of CO2 for every kilogram of fiber grown. Although there will be less matrix material the caps and tubs will maintain strength properties as the bio-filler material can impart beneficial mechanical properties.

Sunstrand is currently on track to become the Sustainable Materials Company, suppling biomaterials for advanced applications in North America. With connections to upstream manufacturers that produce polymer products and a team made of engineers researching new ways to implement their products into end user products to mitigate environmentally negative effect composite part production practices.

Company / Organization Name

Sunstrand LLC.


Where are you / your team located?

Louisville, KY U.S.A.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

It doesn’t redesign unrecyclable plastic items, but utilizes current resources and production practices to begin the necessary steps for making products with less plastic materials.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?


In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

This idea would start small in the immediate area of Sunstrand’s facility and suppliers of plastic products, growing as scaling permits, eventually to the point where all bottle caps and tubs produced utilize biomaterial throughout the world.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

More research and development regarding the drop-in capability of biomaterials into the manufacturing space will be investigated, specifically cap/tub manufacturers. Pilot trials and limited production runs ensuring to meet quality control standards regarding the end products will be conducted. When pilot trials are concluded and successful incremental introduction of this new product will continue as the supply chain is strengthened and proved successful.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.
  • Full-scale roll-out: You have developed a pilot, tested, and analyzed the impact of that pilot as it pertains to the problem scope. You are ready to expand the pilot significantly and begin to scale.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Becoming a top idea will aid the implementation of this novel concept and begin the movement of large scale producers of wide spread consumer products utilizing biodegradable materials as feedstocks. With the additional aid from the Accelerator Program Sunstrand will be able to fully commit company resources to this project.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Implementing biomaterials for advanced technical applications, specifically the composites industry, has always been the goal of Sunstrand. Starting with the development of bamboo fibers for automotive composite applications Sunstrand has grown to include multiple feedstocks and more advanced applications.

Tell us about your work experience

I have been the Director of Special Projects for Sunstrand for +2 years investigating product development research and project management regarding new avenues for Sunstrand’s line of biomaterials.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

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Attachments (2)

Polymer Energy Comparison.pdf

This is a small table showcasing the current energy usage regarding the most common polymers used for bottle caps and tear off tubs. Reference for numbers: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Documentation for Greenhouse Gas Emission and Energy Factors Used in the Waste Reduction Model (WARM). Washington D.C. : EPA, 2015

Sunstrand Product Brochure.pdf

This is full list of our current off-the-shelf product offerings for Sunstrand. The micronized hurd material either HH999 or HK999 would be the most sufficient for this idea.


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