Biodegradable composite material wins prestigious award

Biodegradable foodservice packaging is coming to a restaurant near you. Or at least it's starting to look that way, as EarthShell Corp. (Santa Barbara, CA), in conjunction with manufacturing partner Sweetheart Cup Co., nears completion of a commercial plant for the manufacture of its biodegradable composite material.

The Owings Mills, MD, site is scheduled to begin operation in the fourth quarter of this year, with distribution of cups, bowls, plates and clamshell packages shortly thereafter.

The patented technology recently received the prestigious "Innovation in Real Materials Award" from the Innovations in Materials Conference sponsored by the Intl. Union of Materials Research Societies. "The EarthShell technology is an important innovation that has used the best in science to develop a remarkable material, with real-world applications, such as an environmentally sound, alternative consumer product," said Dr. Rustum Roy of Pennsylvania State U., who presented the award to the EarthShell development team July 21 in Washington. Roy described the material as truly revolutionary, especially when compared to traditional materials used in foodservice packaging such as polystyrene and paperboard.

EarthShell's composite material is made from abundant natural resources like limestone, potato starch and water. It's "strongly protected," claims the company, by more than 100 patents and patents pending worldwide.

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