Mango Materials produces biopolyester from a naturally occurring biopolymer from methane. By transforming waste biogas streams into eco-friendly, biodegradable materials at competitive economics they created a sustainable alternative fibre to a petroleum based synthetic polyester fabric.
1) So, what is Mango Materials and how do you create it?
Mango Materials is a startup company that wants to change the way people think about plastics. We use waste methane gas to make a natural material with properties similar to plastics. Non-GMO bacteria produce this amazing material called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) using a gas fermentation process. Not only is our PHA made from potent greenhouse gas emissions, it is also fully biodegradable in many different environments, including wastewater treatment plants and even the oceans. We envision a closed-loop process where products made of PHA break back down into methane, which is then collected and used to produce more materials in a cradle-to-cradle cycle.
2) Why are you creating Mango Materials?
Mango Materials was spun out of research at Stanford University where co-founders Molly Morse and Allison Pieja saw a need for a plastics substitute. For a long time, traditional plastics have been produced from ancient fossil fuels and designed to last way beyond a product’s useful life. We have seen the negative impact of plastic pollution on the planet and believe there is a more sustainable way. At Mango Materials, we know PHA can compete with traditional polymers on both price and performance. We have spent several years working on both scale-up and optimization of our technology. More recently we have been working on applications where PHA would be a great fit. Our recent biopolyester development is very exciting for us as the fashion industry is looking for a sustainable solution to polyester.
3) What other projects in the sustainable textiles/fashion space are you are excited about (done by you or others)?
Of course we are very excited about our biopolyester. Polyester is a great material but is a major challenge from an environmental perspective. It is made from petroleum and sheds microfibers when washed in the laundry. Solving these issues with a biodegradable biopolyester could really change the game. Overall, we are very excited about all of the biobased materials coming into the fashion space. Whether it is materials made from fruit waste, algae, or mushrooms, all are needed in order to move the sustainable fashion sector forward. We are really excited for the future to see how these materials could work together to make some interesting garments.
4) How do you see the future of fashion?
In the future, there will be a lot of options when it comes to how fabrics are made. So many cool startups are looking at using unique feedstocks to make new fabrics. As we all move towards commercialization, the capabilities to make interesting, sustainable fabrics will be the norm. We are so excited to be a part of this future and see the shift from traditional fabrics to new, more sustainable materials in the fashion industry.
5) Anything else you’d like to add/say!?
Unlike what our name suggests, we don’t have anything to do with mangoes. We named the company with a natural fruit to reflect our natural process. Also, mangoes are delicious!
What do you think of Mango Materials? Share your thoughts by tweeting us @Amberoot, or in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!
This article is part of series “Future of Fashion Series”: