Honeywell teams up with Metabolix on new biodegradable alternative to microbeads

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Honeywell teams up with Metabolix on new biodegradable alternative to microbeads

Related tags: United states

Ingredients provider Honeywell has formed a technology alliance with biomaterials company Metabolix to develop a new line of biodegradable ingredients.

The line of ingredients is called Asena, and is targeted as demand is heightened for biobased, marine biodegradable ingredients as exfoliants and a range of other personal care products.

The alliance means that Metabolix's Mirel polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers will be developed as part of Honeywell's Asensa line of personal care additives, which ties in with a growing movement towards making plastic microbeads illegal in the US, and worldwide.

Tackling a growing environmental problem

Legislation to outlaw plastic microbeads is gaining momentum as a growing body of research points to the environmental damage being done in both marine and waterways due to the accumulation of the non-biodegradeable beads.

Honeywell says its technology is intended to meet new regulatory requirements that have so far been rolled out in several US states, and is still being mulled in the State of California, which has some of the toughest regulations for the cosmetics industry in the country.

The companies say that using applicable ASTM test methods, they have determined that biodegradability of the new ingredient line is similar to that of cellulose and paper, and that it is faster than other commercially available biodegradable polymers.

Growing number of alternatives

Ahead of the planned regulation, several ingredients providers have also launched biodegradable microbead alternatives, including Evonik and Floratech.

Last month, Colarado became the latest US state to propose a bill to ban the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.

The bill falls in line with similar regulatory that are being introduced in a growing number of states nationwide, aimed at tackling the pollution problem that is occurring in waterways and marine areas throughout the country due to accumulation of the non-biodegradable plastic microbeads.

So far two states – Illinois and New Jersey – have implemented a future ban on microbeads, while dozens of other states are currently mulling similar regulation.

However, in California, a bill proposing to ban microbeads was rejected when it went to a house vote last year, but is expected to be proposed again during the course of this year.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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