Discovery-driven innovations grow an eco-friendly economy
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The amount of used single-serve pods sent to landfills last year could have circled the Earth 13 times. To help address this issue, University of Guelph researchers have helped create the world’s first certified 100 per cent compostable single-serve pod for coffee, tea and other hot beverages.

Developed from plant materials, these pods are just one example of discovery-driven innovation coming out of the University of Guelph’s Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC) in partnership with industrial and government partners.

Established in 2008, BDDC brings together plant scientists, chemists and engineers to investigate and commercialize biomaterials for polymers in car parts, furniture and storage bins. The centre aims to support Canada’s bioeconomy and reduce our reliance on petroleum-based products in manufacturing and consumer goods by developing eco-friendly alternatives that lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the impact of plastics.

Further highlighting how dynamic university-industry partnerships can lead to discovery and innovation, in 2016, Loblaw Companies Ltd. in Canada launched President’s Choice single-serve pods that are certified 100-per-cent compostable.

Supported by private- and public sector investment worth millions of dollars over nearly a dozen years, the BDDC is now working on a project to make plastics from biocarbon-based green composites, expected to account for about 5 per cent of the $88-billion auto sector in five years.

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