Mirel is a trade name for a polyhydroxyalkanoate-based biodegradable bioplastic made by Cambridge, MA based company Metabolix. From 2006 until 2012 it was commercialized by a joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company called Telles. Mirel bioplastic is certified soil and marine degradable, and has applications in injection molding, extrusion coating, cast film and sheet, blown film, and thermoforming.
Mirel is marketed as an alternative to petroleum based plastics that is both sustainable and eco-friendly. The global market for bioplastics is projected to reach more than 1 million metric tons in 2015.
Metabolix biopolymers are based on polyhydroxyalkanoate polymers (PHAs). They are made by fermentation process using renewable carbon based feedstocks. These renewable biopolymers are produced and consumed naturally by living organisms such as microbes. Because of this, Metabolix biopolymers can be biodegraded by similar microbes present in ambient environments such as soil and water.
Mirel is suitable for a wide range of injection molded food service and packaging applications including caps and closures, and disposable items such as forks, spoons, knives, tubs, trays, jars and consumer product applications.
Its first major application was in 2007 with Target Corporation. Metabolix created a completely biodegradable gift card that was available in 129 Target stores nationwide. If put into a home composting area, the card would completely biodegrade in about 40 days.
Also in 2007, Mirel was chosen by PaperMate for its line of biodegradable pens. They can be composted in an ambient home compost environment completely biodegrading within a year.
Zoë b Organic currently sells beach toys made from Mirel. The toys are advertised to fully biodegrade within 2 to 3 years.
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