As a major corporation that has pledged to cut its use of fossil fuel-based plastics in half before 2030, one of the strategies Kimberly-Clark is developing is the use of alternative materials to produce more sustainable products.
As part of this striving to transition toward more renewable and regenerative materials, Kimberly-Clark and biotech company RWDC Industries have announced a new collaboration that brings together Kimberly-Clark's extensive experience in nonwoven technologies and resin development with RDWC's biopolymer solutions.
The partnership will provide Kimberly-Clark with RWDC's polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) source material, Solon, to develop additional products that are, among other things, marine degradable.
"We've seen the growing demand from consumers and governments for companies to provide more sustainable solutions to single-use plastics," said Liz Metz, Vice President of Kimberly-Clark's Global Nonwovens business.
The company is working to develop products that can meet this demand over the next five years, focusing first on product categories that address global demand for more sustainable products.
"Kimberly-Clark aims to be a leader in driving innovative solutions that address plastic pollution," added Metz.
PHA materials offer a promising answer. Not only are they 100% bio-based, but they are also able to biodegrade in many different environments. The PHA supplied by RWDC, based in Athens, Ga. and Singapore, is based on plant oils and can be composted in home and industrial composting facilities. Should products or packaging made with PHA find their way into the environment, they biodegrade in soil, freshwater, and marine settings, preventing persistent plastics from accumulating in the environment.
The company is thrilled to partner with Kimberly-Clark, said its co-founder and CEO Dr. Daniel Carraway. "This partnership showcases how industry leaders can leverage the agility of emerging technologies to deliver real change. Together, we are demonstrating that we can alter the alarming growth trajectory of plastic waste while retaining quality and enabling environmental goals to be met."