PolyHydroxyAlanoate (PHA): The time is ripe for a turning point in plastic history

Plastic pollution is a growing global problem because commercial plastics are not biodegradable. The way we currently design, produce and consume plastics is both unsustainable and inefficient. One of the important measures to combat plastic pollution and then secure a sustainable future for people and the environment is to rethink the design of plastic products.

The industry has been researching environmentally friendly alternatives to petrochemical plastics for years. The holy grail is to create materials that biodegrade efficiently in the natural environment at the end of their life cycle while possessing the durability of conventional plastics.

In this regard, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have emerged as a promising solution due to their many beneficial properties. PHAs are a family of polymers produced by microorganisms. One of the unique properties of PHAs is that microorganisms can both produce and degrade in almost any environment (compost bin, soil and sea). Furthermore, the properties of many PHAs studied are similar to traditional plastics such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). In addition, the feedstock for making these polymers can be waste streams such as; GFT waste, wastewater, or waste paper streams. This makes PHA plastics a promising alternative for a sustainable future.

Despite many researches and efforts, large-scale production of PHA has not yet been achieved due to technical and economic challenges. An innovative production method of PHAs is therefore necessary to fully commercialize PHA and move the plastics industry towards a “greener” future.

Recent developments within the PHA industry now indicate that the PHA market is gradually beginning to take shape. With the increased focus of both consumers and manufacturers on sustainability, the circular economy and a “green” future, this is the right time to take PHA production to the next level. We are on the cusp of a turning point in the use of raw materials. It is tremendously exciting to be involved in the initiatives now taking place in the field of PHA. We believe that “being at the right place at the right time” with a unique strategy will make the difference!