Member Feature: BioLogiQ

From plants to polymers, BioLogiQ uses plant-based starch to help solve the global discarded plastics crisis.

Based in Idaho Falls, BioLogiQ manufactures plastic resins from 100% sustainable, renewable plant-based resources. Using proprietary and innovative technology and processes, the thermoplastic resins they produce are called NuPlastiQ and DuraPlantiQ.  The bioplastic-based resins have unique properties that make them mixable with petrochemical resins to create a durable shelf-stable plastic with more planet-friendly attributes.

Despite our planet’s best efforts to recycle plastics, every year over 11 million tons of plastics end up in lakes, rivers and oceans, killing millions of birds, fish and animals. Depending on the plastic material, it can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years for traditional plastics to decompose, and even then, it never fully disappears. When blended with BioLogiQ’s innovative plant-based technology, traditional plastics will return to the earth faster. When the plant-based starches are incorporated using BioLogiQ’s patented process, naturally occurring microbes can identify the material as an energy source and naturally process it back into nature through a process called biodegradation.

Founded in 2011, BioLogiQ was established to create a useful plastic from the excess starch produced during potato processing, which is often discarded. Early on, they partnered with Idaho-based Wada Farms, one of Walmart’s largest potato suppliers to produce the TaterMade® sustainable bag. “In a typical bag of potatoes from Walmart, the bag itself contained up to 20% potato starch,” explained Justin Sanders, BioLogiQ’s Director of Application Development. The resulting interest from local investors set the company on its way.

Beyond potatoes, BioLogiQ uses other plant-based starches like corn and cassava. “The very first patent the company received involved taking multiple starches and blending them to get certain mechanical properties,” said Sanders. Deploying global resources to solve a global issue, BioLogiQ also manufactures in China and conducts scientific research in Japan.

Aware of the power of a more local supply chain, BioLogiQ envisions a day when they can buy starch directly from the grower. “Our technology has become more flexible to where we can accept a wider variety of starches,” explained David Fairbanks, BioLogiQ Director for Technical Services. “As we continue to improve our technology where we can accept a wider variety of starches, it will really help our supply chain be more local.”

BioLogiQ sells NuPlastiQ BioBlends in pellet form to companies that manufacture plastic packaging. One such company is Yakima, WA-based Kwik Lok which uses it in their more sustainable Eco-Lok bag closures that are used to close bread and produce bags.  Considering the current trend of corporate sustainability, BioLogiQ’s technology is critical to transitioning the plastics industry towards long-term environmental stewardship.

Ken Kramer, President and Chief Technology Officer for BioLogiQ, drew an apt analogy to the adoption of ethanol in our gasoline. “It was a phenomenon that was primarily driven by the federal government. Similarly, we are fundamentally replacing petroleum-based products with plant-based products.” NuPlastiQ is seeing traction in multiple areas of plastic packaging manufacturing. Film is a significant category, as is injection molding. “We are also very complementary to biodegradable compostable products such as PPAT, PLA or the new kid on the block, PHA.”

New members to the Idaho Manufacturing Alliance, BioLogiQ has been instrumental in helping grow the IMA in eastern Idaho and were excited to see great turnout at a recent meeting in Idaho Falls. They are eager to do more business locally and using IMA to network will serve to help them discover opportunities to collaborate with their neighbors. According to David Fairbanks, “we believe the size of the problem is so big that everyone’s got to work on this together to help reduce the pollution of plastic in the environment.”

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