UGA bioplastics technologies fuel state’s economy


UGA bioplastics technologies fuel state’s economy

PHA resin inventors from UGA
Dr. Branson W. Ritchie (left), a veterinary researcher; Daniel Carraway (center), a UGA alumnus who is co-founder and CEO of RWDC Industries; and Jason Locklin, a polymer chemist and director of the UGA New Materials Institute, work together to develop bio-based resins for the manufacturing of microbially-degradable single-use plastics, like straws and disposable utensils. Photo by Terry Allen, © 2017

When University of Georgia professor Jason Locklin met Daniel Carraway over 10 years ago, neither of them knew their professional relationship would result in a substantial economic development investment in Athens.

Back in 2008, Locklin, who is now director of UGA’s New Materials Institute, was an assistant professor in chemistry and engineering at UGA. Carraway, a UGA alumnus and serial entrepreneur, was looking at universities, trying to find the perfect spot for one of his employees to attend graduate school.

“We met and hit it off, and after that he decided he wanted the student to work for me,” Locklin recalled. “We started working on projects together and haven’t stopped since.”

About five years ago, Carraway co-founded RWDC, a company to commercialize microbially degradable polymers, which are combined with other materials to make resins, from which single-use articles are made. These polymers, co-developed by Carraway, Locklin and Dr. Branson Ritchie, aim to solve the environmental problem of petroleum-derived single-use plastics.