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 truly biodegradable materials that meet the high expectations of industry and the consumers they serve, we take a holistic approach to your issues. And 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.

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

New Materials Institute to test first fully biodegradable plastic straw

This 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.

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

The $719,000 award represents the top prize in Ecosperity’s inaugural Liveability Challenge and was presented to RWDC Industries in July in Singapore. UGA researchers, graduate students and a UGA alumnus, working with RWDC Foundation funding, synthesized a food contact polymer that they will now attempt to develop into a commercially viable straw, which RWDC would then bring to market.