Industry News

PlantSwitch reveals plans to begin manufacturing compostable material which will replace all petroleum-based plastic

by | Oct 11, 2023

PlantSwitch is a company who have an aim to develop a compostable material which will replace all petroleum-based plastic with plants. The company has recently revealed their plan to start manufacturing this compostable material soon at their first plant in North Carolina.

PlantSwitch was founded by Dillion Baxter and Maxime Blandin and they have large plans for this business, due to the benefits their product will provide. The company says the material they have developed is the most sustainable, lowest-cost, completely compostable ‘drop-in’ plastic replacement. Another benefit of the material produced by the company is that it is sourced from the abundant supply of agricultural residues, with the main source being rice hulls. Their plan is to begin compounding, extruding and cutting pellet material in Sanford, N.C., in early 2024, with the expectation of producing 50 million pounds of pellets per year.

PlantSwitch is mainly marketing its product to applications like containers and eating utensils and so far they have had a few companies express interest in their product and a few deals have been made. The company has also received fundraising and grants from different sources, one of which is a $4.94 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Furthermore, the grants and fundraising which the company has already received and is hoping to get, will enable them to look into expanding their market past cutlery and utensils.

The biggest selling point for this company, is what makes their innovative product stand out as an advanced breakthrough, their feedstock, which creates their material, is cheap, readily available and renewable. This means that manufacturing this product, once they have the technology at the plant in North Carolina, will be relatively easy as the ease of access to their feedstock will enable them to continuously produce their product and have a constant supply chain. The other large selling point is that their end product can easily be used on existing plastics processing machinery, which makes it useful to multiple companies who are involved in the plastic processing industry.

Since the company started they have developed and improved immensely, at the beginning they used to use agave cactus cellulosic fibre, which is a waste byproduct of tequila production, for their feedstock. However, since the development of the Sanford facility, the company has continued to source their feedstock locally, but they switched to using feedstocks such as rice hulls, hemp and wheat straw, which they then combine with other bio-based polymers.

A co-founder of PlantSwitch, Baxter, commented, “We started the company with the mindset of trying to solve all the issues with the current bioplastic industry.” On their website, it also states one of their largest selling points which aligns with their aim, “Our resins feel and function like plastic, without the guilt.”

The company is already looking ahead to future developments as the bioplastics market is predicted to be rapidly increasing from an estimated 4.9 billion pounds in 2022 to just under 13.9 billion pounds in 2027. This means that PlantSwitch is looking for opportunities to expand their market and develop their manufacturing process in order to meet the demand that predictions suggest will rise. Although they haven’t agreed to making them yet, the company has mentioned that they will at some point hope to move towards producing plastic bottles out of their material.

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