Uniquely positioned to takeadvantage of both the waste treatment and plastic resin markets, Micromidasconverts the carbon in organic wastewater into PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), afamily of bio-degradable plastics that can be used in lieu of conventionalpetroleum plastics. Micromidas’ process generates highly functional bio-plasticwhile substantially reducing the quantity of bio-solids that municipal utilitiesmust pay to treat.
Bio-solids disposal represents asignificant cost for municipalities: the annual wastewater treatment cost forthe LA County Sanitation District is ~$700 million annually, of which anestimated 40% goes towards bio-solids processing and disposal. Less than 10% ofpost-consumer plastic is recycled, 80% is sent to the landfill where it takes millenniato degrade; similarly, the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” consists of ~100million metric tons of un-degradable plastic. Meanwhile, volatility in oilprices impacts the conventional plastics market. During the summer of 2008,polyethylene and polypropylene prices both rose over 50%, resulting in a $500million decrease in Rubbermaid’s planned product line and $100 million inrestructuring costs as it consolidated 135 of its manufacturing plants down to15.