We can’t lie to ourselves anymore. Plastic is oil. It doesn’t biodegrade (instead it photodegrades, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces). It’s poison to animals and a scourge for our wildlands and waterways. Seriously, this stuff is the worst.
The problem is that — at this moment in human history — we need it. It’s in… literally everything. There’s plastic in the machine writing this article and the device you’re reading it on. If you can’t spot ten pieces of plastic within three feet of you right now, you’re probably living in the woods and getting wifi on a satellite phone. Look at your shoes, your wallet, you headphones… look anywhere.
The fact is, we’re never going to get rid of the stuff. The best we can do is improve it (and curb our egregious use of it). With this aim, companies have created cornstarch forks and edible six-pack rings. But the first generation of “eco plastics” had limited uses and high costs. Consumer interest — which spiked after Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, back in 2007 — still couldn’t support the expense. Now, that’s all poised to change, with a new riff on bioplastic made from pure waste.
Full Cycle Bioplastics was dreamt up by twin brothers Jeff and Dane Anderson. The idea was to make a truly compostable plastic that could be formed into a wide range of products. This isn’t a completely new notion, but Full Cycle’s product is made from compost. This brings costs down, eliminates an incredible amount of front-end waste (growing, watering, harvesting potatoes, for example), and makes for an overall greener product.
“PHA [plastic] is extremely compostable,” says Jeff Anderson, Full Cycle’s COO, “and it’s also marine degradable. Meaning if it ever falls into the ocean it actually acts as fish food and has no toxic effects.”
The product has built a buzz on the strength of its cradle-to-cradle concept — meaning that there is no waste down the line: from composting food scraps to turning those scraps into disposable forks to letting those forks biodegrade in a way that actually supports ecosystems.
“Plastic has found a place here and will stay,” Anderson continues. “But Bioplastic can be a direct replacement. Just a better foot forward for that same theme.”