Local Researchers Develop Biodegradable Packaging From Cotton Waste

Published 12/22 2013 07:46PM

Updated 12/23 2013 06:12PM

By Michaela MacDonald

LUBBOCK, TX -- Lubbock-based Agricultural Researcher Greg Holt and his team set out to find a use for gin waste. They came up witha completely biodegradable packing material.

"It is a 100% biodegradable there is nothing artificial. It is really agricultural waste material or agricultural straw different agricultural biomass materials and fungus or mushrooms so when you grow it you can grow it in any shape as you can see and it does a good job of cushioning," said Holt.

The water resistant, flame retardant material can be made in any shape or size. Holt says its an eco-friendly alternative to styrofoam that won't break the bank.

"It is cost competitive so its not significantly higher cost and the selling point is green, its actually being sold on performance with the benefit of being green," said Holt.

"That's really a problem for the gins in having to do something with it. Its a waste product and so they either have to hall it off and do something with it," said Executive Vice President of Plains Cotton Growers, Steve Verett.

Verett says he's excited to see gin waste be put to good use.

"Certainly anything that we can come up with that will use a byproduct like gin trash and find some kind of value to that has got to be good for the industry," said Verett.

Holt says a company called "Ecovative" is ramping up production of the material, so you may start to see it in your packages in the next few years.

"Dell Computers has expressed interest and is using them for their servers and wants to use them for their retail market so its just a matter of getting product geared up. There's been some other Fortune 500 companies that have expressed interes," said Holt. 

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