Plastic pollution in our country has become a serious issue. Once it’s created, it exists for about 1,000 years. It breaks down and creates microplastics, which can be harmful to fish and people. Three college students created Neptune Plastics Inc. which makes single-use marine degradable and wildlife digestible compostable plastic.
The first product they want to bring to market is a polybag, hitting the shipping and packaging industry. When we get packages, there is all the plastic that protects what is inside the box. That plastic could go in the compost bin instead of the trash because of Neptune’s innovation.
The Neptune Plastics team is comprised of Marx Acosta-Rubio, Grant Christensen and Hal Jones are the minds behind the company at Brigham Young University in Utah. Their project started after they experienced negative effects of plastic pollution serving as missionaries for their church. They saw this problem across the world in Miami, Brazil, and Peru and knew something needed to be done. They received the 2020 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their unique product that combines unique tech aspects and heat sealability.
The team started out with an environmentally friendly single-use water bottle which got them to develop a film. After that, they were accepted into their university’s accelerator program where they started product development.
Their plastic dissolves in water after a few days, very different from the long-lasting and harmful microplastic we deal with now. The material used to make their plastic can be found in food. Their product has proven to be strong and they are ready to move to larger partnerships.
In an article from Forbes, Acosta-Rubio says, “when it encounters a situation like a landfill or body of water, that is when it begins to degrade, leaving no microplastics. Other uses depend on the direction of development. We’ve optimized the material for a specific use case (polybags) up to this point. […] this is really only the beginning.”
As we have become more aware of the dangers plastic has to our environment, it seems that companies like Neptune Plastics are the future.