Thoughtfully designing products and systems for tomorrow

Healthier materials for a healthier planet

Globally, we currently generate some 2.5 billion metric tons of waste per year for a population that’s expected to increase by roughly 33%, to 9.2 billion people, by 2050 (as projected by the United Nations). Much of this waste is plastic, which persists in our landfills, as well as in our oceans, and endangers human, animal and ecological health. At the New Materials Institute, we think it’s time for a paradigm shift in waste management; that a material’s useful end-of-life should be considered at the design stage and that Green Engineering principles should be part of this process.

The NMI welcomes partnerships. We work with a wide range of partners to pioneer systems and materials that promote circularity, for proactive materials management. Whether it be circular materials management systems at the municipal to global scale, or innovative and biologically degradable materials and products that meet the high expectations of industry and the consumers they serve, we take a holistic approach to your issues. As we work, we’re also training the next generation of engineers and scientists, so that they consider our context-driven and Green Engineering design approach in all they do.

Home of the Bioseniatic℠ Laboratory

Our Bioseniatic℠ Laboratory offers testing for any material or product currently in development or use that meets our criteria—from any researcher or manufacturer. Bioseniatic™ materials and products represent a new generation of biologically-degradable materials and/or products that are consumed by microbes in the receiving environment—even your backyard. Bioseniatic™ materials and products may come from nature or be synthetic, but regardless of their source, all are microbially degraded and non-toxic, which makes them safe for animals, people and our planet.

By working with our industry partners who seek to shore-up consumer confidence in their products, we are striving to correct confusion which has been brought about by the marketing terms “biodegradable” and “compostable.”

Join our waste-prevention revolution

Work with us, as we take your product, product idea, or system to our bench and thoughtfully design it for tomorrow.


Hot Melt Extrusion (HME) for Pharmaceutical Development

The University of Georgia New Materials Institute offers a wide variety of expertise for the pharmaceutical industry’s development of solid oral dosage forms utilizing hot melt extrusion (HME). Development of suitable excipients through solubility match using Hansen Solubility Parameters in Practice (HSPiP) software allows for streamlining of the formulation process. Bench scale to semi-pilot scale extrusion allows for conservation of valuable materials during early phase development while allowing for the option to upscale to conventional twin screw extruders.

PHA-based microbeads, made from UGA-developed technology, biologically degrade in wastewater treatment facilities

A diverse ecosystem of microinvertebrates and -fauna was witnessed by researchers at the UGA New Materials Institute during field and laboratory studies to evaluate the degradation of cosmetic microbeads made from a polyhydroxyalkanoate, or PHA, polymer developed at the Institute. In the upper-right corner of this video, you can see a reddish-colored worm, or nematode. Smaller organisms are seen moving elsewhere within the microbeads and wastewater. As these organisms consume the carbon-based material, their digestive and metabolic processes degrade the microbeads ultimately into CO2. Microbeads in this study degraded in 15 weeks in laboratory conditions, and 13 weeks in field conditions.

New Materials Institute helped develop fully biodegradable plastic straw

A research team that included partners from the University of Georgia New Materials Institute and the RWDC Environmental Stewardship Foundation developed a fully biodegradable plastic straw thanks to an award from Singapore’s Temasek Foundation Ecosperity.

PHA resin is bio-based and fully biodegradable. The formula will be used to create a prototype for the world's first fully biodegradable plastic straw. Photo by UGA/Dorothy Kozlowski.
This PHA resin is bio-based and fully biodegradable.