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Naturally occurring biopolymer substitutes for plastics can help create a closed-loop, circular bioeconomy

Mango Materials produces naturally occurring biopolymers that can biodegrade in natural and industrial waste environments.

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Mango Materials produces biobased, biodegradable biopolymers from waste methane gas that can be economically and functionally competitive with petrochemical-based plastics. The company produces polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). PHA is a naturally occurring polymer that can be produced by bacteria. This polymer can be used to substitute conventional plastics in a variety of applications, including high-margin or high-volume, environmentally friendly goods such as caps, straws, films, microbeads, and packaging containers.

How does this research relate to our Use Cases?

Mango Materials' PHA not only provides high performance, such as better barrier properties than many existing biomaterials, but also can be composted with food scraps or leftover organic products. In a worst case scenario where a small-format product is improperly discarded outside a waste disposal facility, the biopolymer can break down naturally as microorganisms simply view it as carbon, or their natural food. Unlike persistent plastics this natural material will truly get recycled in nature.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

As we can see all around us, nature has already developed many innovative solutions for modern life. Living on a planet surrounded by so much life, why not become inspired by nature’s inherently sustainable “technology” that turns waste materials into raw materials in a closed loop?

Tell us about yourself

Mango Materials is a San Francisco Bay Area startup composed of engineers, scientists, business leaders, and concerned citizens. We find innovation all around us in nature and seek to bring these naturally sustainable solutions into the mainstream.

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Photo of Fernanda Garza

Hi Molly I found your post very inspiring. For which industry are you creating a closed-loop?

Photo of Molly

Hi Fernanda Garza thanks for your support! We believe different industries must work together to achieve long-lasting change. Our flexible technology enables multiple industries to participate in cross-industry, closed-loop production of materials. "Waste" carbon in the form of methane generated in one industry can be used as a valuable feedstock for materials used in another industry. For example, methane produced at a wastewater treatment plant could be used to produce sustainable PHA packaging for the beauty industry, which could then be composted after use to regenerate methane that can go towards producing biodegradable PHA caps for the food and beverage industry. The recycling of carbon can continue in a closed loop across multiple industries.

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