In California, Mango Materials developed a biodegradable plastic using lyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), derived from waste methane, to help solve some of the issues with oil-based materials especially in the textile and clothing industries. Mango has made small textile samples and is now testing them for biodegradability in the Berkeley Marina, according to Sustainable Brands.
“This is a type of polyester, so it has the same performance characteristics,” Morse said. “It is hydrophobic, so it wicks moisture. We’ve not tested it for odor retention but it is quick-drying.” Thus far, the textile industry has greeted news of the discovery with a lot of enthusiasm, she added.
Support isn’t all encompassing, however, with Nick Mallos, who directs the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program. According to Sustainable Brands, Mallos said plant-based products such as what Mango Materials is developing might be able to “tackle some of the issues related to end-of-life impact” but that with any new type of plastics being developed to address pollution problems, “we have to be sure that they don’t have unintended consequences.”