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 and certification for any material or product, currently in development or use, which meets our criteria—from any researcher or manufacturer. Materials and products bearing the Bioseniatic™ certification mark 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.” The Bioseniatic™ certification is proof to consumers that what you say happens to your product at the end of its useful life really happens.

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.


Compost survey graphic for homepage

Do you compost food or gardening waste? Do you know what compostable certification labels look like and what they mean when you see them on packaging? Do you know how to properly dispose of compostable packaging and products? Regardless of your answers, if you live in the U.S., the University of Georgia’s New Materials Institute wants to know what you know about composting, and is asking members of the public to voluntarily complete a survey by March 31st. Your answers will be kept confidential. The information you share will be used by our researchers and will benefit our planet! Thank you!

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.