Grass is greener

Grass is greener

Researchers develop new bio-plastics for commercialization
July 31, 2013

The small southwestern Ontario town of Leamington is combining its agricultural roots with innovative new science to tap into Canada’s growing bio-economy, which was valued at $87 billion in 2012. The town’s relatively mild climate and abundant farmland make it ideal for cultivating Miscanthus, a grass that has been used in biofuel in North America since the 1980s.

Now, Leamington-based Competitive Green Technologies (CGTech) is providing farmers with a new range of uses for the feedstock by using the grass to produce a valuable biomaterial for manufacturing green consumer goods. The small company purchases the grass from farmers and compounds it with recycled plastic to form bio-composites for the moulding industry. It currently sells to two southern Ontario-based companies that make flowerpots and storage bins which are available across the country at mass retail stores such as Home Hardware.

The novel idea to combine this grass with recycled plastic was developed by Amar Mohanty of the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre at the University of Guelph. CGTech has an exclusive licensing agreement with the university and the centre to commercialize the bio-composite for environmentally friendly, competitively priced consumer goods.