STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — New WinCup Holdings, Inc. has released a time-lapse video and an accompanying report showing the rapid biodegradation of its phade® straw in a controlled marine environment. phade® is the world’s first marine biodegradable drinking straw. The video and report are the result of a project conducted by Keypoint Intelligence, a product testing firm, that involved placing phade® in two unique saltwater tank environments and monitoring the biodegradation process. While petroleum-based plastic straws are estimated to take at least 200 years to biodegrade, this project showed that phade®, made with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a substrate derived from the fermentation of canola oil, achieved complete biodegradation in just 58 days.
The video and report can be viewed at www.phadeproducts.com/timelapse.
As part of its assignment, Keypoint Intelligence established two marine tanks to monitor and evaluate the biodegradation of the phade® straw. Marine life in the form of Clown Fish and snails were added to both tanks to replicate ocean conditions and to show that the tanks could support marine life. After 58 days (Tank 1) and 54 days (Tank 2) of exposure, there were no visible signs of the two phade® straws in either tank. Keypoint Intelligence captured photos and monitored by video throughout the process, which have been used to develop a time-lapse video showing the breakdown of the straw in Tank 1. The video is intended to help anyone understand what the biodegradation process might look like if a phade® straw were to end up in a marine environment.
“We all remember the viral video of a sea turtle found with a plastic straw in its nose,” said WinCup President and Chief Revenue Officer Michael Winters. “That image showed the world the impacts of plastic pollution, and it also marked a turning point for us at WinCup. We developed a mission to do our part and create viable sustainable products, by exploring ocean safe alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Our straws are such a relevant innovation towards addressing the ocean plastics issue, our hope is that the phade® brand becomes a symbol for meaningful sustainable solutions for many years to come. This time-lapse video is evidence of that, and we are excited to share it with the world.”
The key to phade® is PHA, which is used as a food source by bacteria that consumes the phade® straw in a matter of months, as the time-lapse video demonstrates, instead of hundreds of years like petroleum-based straws. The rate of biodegradation for a phade® straw in a marine environment will likely vary from the rate of 58 days shown in the video because how quickly something biodegrades is dependent on the level of bacteria present in an environment and other actual conditions.
A phade® straw is intended to be composted after use and should never be disposed of in a marine environment. The reality is that petroleum plastic straws are often found as litter on beaches and in the ocean. phade® was designed to be consumed by bacteria, so in the unfortunate circumstance where a phade straw might end up in an ocean it will biodegrade due to the presence of bacteria. However, the proper disposal of phade® is in a home compost pile or an industrial compost bin, and it should never be littered.
The emergence of phade® straws comes as demand increases for a viable alternative to a traditional petroleum based products. Both paper straws and vegetable-based polylactic acid (PLA) straws present performance and sustainability challenges that phade® overcomes. Paper straws lack durability, get soggy, and breakdown during use. phade®, on the other hand, maintains the feel and user experience of a traditional plastic straw. In addition to its ability to biodegrade in marine environments, phade® is also home and industrially compostable, unlike PLA which will only beak down in an industrial composter.
“We remain focused on addressing the global plastics pollution crisis and this time-lapse video is a tremendous step in educating the world on what an alternative to petroleum-based plastic truly looks like,” said WinCup Chief Executive Officer Brad Laporte. “We feel strongly that the marketplace is a major driver in eliminating demand for petro plastics, and manufacturers have an obligation to alter business practices to contribute to the cause. We are incredibly proud of the innovation behind our product that allows for this rapid biodegradation process, and we remain committed to continuously improve the sustainable attributes of our products.”
The development of phade® involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TUV AUSTRIA, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade® as both industrial and backyard compostable in a matter of months. TUV also certified the material from which WinCup’s phade® straw is made as marine biodegradable. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute Inc. (BPI) has certified phade® as industrially compostable.
WinCup has won numerous awards for the development and launch of phade®, including the 2021 Innovation in FoodService Award for Sustainability Solutions from the National Restaurant Association and SmartBrief and 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award from the Bioplastics Division of PLASTICS (The Plastics Industry Association). Most recently, in May, 2021, WinCup’s phade® brand was recognized out of a pool of more than 4,000 global entries by Fast Company Magazine as a finalist or honorable mention winner in the Consumer Products, Enduring Impact, General Excellence and World Changing Ideas categories.
WinCup’s focus on sustainable solutions was enhanced in September 2020 when Los Angeles-based Atar Capital, a global private investment firm, acquired the company. Among Atar’s core principles is a commitment to sustainability and investing in companies that work toward protecting the environment.
About WinCup, Inc.
WinCup, Inc. is headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia. WinCup is a leading manufacturer of traditional and sustainable disposable cups, bowls, containers, lids, and straws. The company’s eight manufacturing locations are committed to high-quality products and superior customer service. To learn more, please visit www.wincup.com and www.phadeproducts.com.
About Keypoint Intelligence
For 60 years, clients in the digital imaging industry have relied on Keypoint Intelligence for independent hands-on testing, lab data and extensive market research to drive their product and sales success. Keypoint Intelligence has been recognized as the industry’s most trusted resource for unbiased information, analysis, and awards due to decades of analyst experience. Customers have harnessed this critical knowledge for strategic decision-making, daily sales enablement, and operational efficiency improvements to increase bottom lines. With a central focus on clients, Keypoint Intelligence continues to evolve as the industry changes by expanding our offerings and updating methods, while intimately understanding and serving manufacturers’, channels and their customers’ transformation in the digital printing and imaging sector. To learn more, please visit https://www.keypointintelligence.com/.