Avatar Sustainable Technologies' mission is to convert waste from recycled paper mills into high value biomaterials. The recycled paper industry has seen rapid explosive growth in the last decade, driven by the shift in consumer shopping from store-centric to online and thus an increased demand for shipping of products. Most recycled paper facilities in the USA are outdated, and only recently new manufacturing technologies have been adopted; indeed, 90% of the country’s 150 paper mills are more than 10 years old. These facilities have large production capacities that produce copious amounts of solid waste due to old and inefficient technology. Therefore, a preferred option is to reject these as solid waste, and thus some paper mills are spending $1.5 to $2 million each year to have them sent to landfill.
The conversion of this waste stream into a high value product such as fermentable sugars not only avoids the waste disposal costs, but also provides a profitable feedstock for cellulosic biofuels, bioplastics and sugar-based platform chemicals. These bio-based products are attractive as sustainable replacements for conventional products derived from fossil fuels, thus extending our fossil resources. In this regard, it is important to note that a significant fraction of petroleum and natural gas produced around the world is converted into petrochemicals for the production of plastics ($100 Billion). Due to increased consumer awareness, various fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Proctor & Gamble, etc., have been looking for alternatives for their current fossil-based plastic to be replaced by bioplastics, which are perceived to be less detrimental for environment. These same growing environmental concerns are increasing the use of bioplastics for products and packaging by newer Green companies, such as Seventh Generation and Naty.