UK biotech company Toraphene is preparing to unveil the world’s first truly biodegradable, compostable and commercially viable alternative to plastic packaging. The company has developed a new material, also called Toraphene, that uses biopolymers that compost naturally and biodegrade without human intervention, even in the ocean. This material is stronger, thinner, and less permeable than alternatives, and improves food safety and shelf-life.
The biopolymers are combined with Nobel Prize-winning graphene, which is derived from carbon and is stronger than diamond at an atomic level.
While biodegradable plastics currently exist, they rely on commercial composting, which uses energy to heat the compost, as well as presenting other logistical challenges.
In addition, some bioplastics produce methane gas when they decompose, a compound with a global warming potential 25 times that of CO2. Toraphene can be optimized to
Due to the addition of Graphene, Toraphene has been shown to be stronger, thinner, and less permeable than alternatives, improving food safety and shelf-life. This presents the first commercially viable alternative to plastics.
An entrepreneur, venture capitalist and former Associate Professor of Business, Gaute Juliussen founded Toraphene in 2018 with the initial aim of creating a green alternative to carrier bags and food and drink containers. Such plastics make up 23 percent of marine waste.
Birgit Liodden, founder of The Ocean Opportunity Lab, said: “Toraphene has the potential to create a critical turning point in tackling the global plastic pollution crisis. We all know how pressing the climate crisis is, and plastic pollution is a huge problem, particularly in our ocean environments. I’m very heartened by the prospect of Toraphene, which should be a transformative step in tackling plastic pollution and play a huge role in making the world’s oceans plastic-free”.
Ahead of the launch of Toraphene, which is patented in the UK, EU, and the US, Juliussen has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, encouraging anyone who cares for the environment to be part of the Toraphene journey.
Toraphene is renting production equipment from plastic bag manufacturers and plugging directly into existing supply chains. The company is already in talks with major consumer brands, retailers and food packaging suppliers.