What we do with plastics
The breakdown of plastics is measured in hundreds and often thousands of years. Degradation in natural settings causes problems like microplastics in oceans. We see the design of plastic products, their disposal, and ability to be recycled as important for the responsible use of polymers. But the infrastructure and practices for the afterlife of plastic products are underdeveloped or nonexistent.
What recycle means
While the intentions of citizens and companies that "recycle" plastics is admirable, we know that their reuse is troubled by two categorical problems: 1) lack of infrastructure and 2) the intermingling of chemically diverse products. Bags of recycled plastics are often too inconsistent in quality to be used in many production streams. And in many countries recycling programs and practices do not yet exist. Our vision of sustainability supports increased capture and better chemical separation as important steps for reusing plastics.
There are already mountains of once-used plastics that are exceptionally cheap but lacking in material consistency because they are chemically mixed. We believe our ability to bind bast fibers like hemp to polymer molecules offers a way to reinforce many recycled plastic grades so that they can be used for certain plastic components.