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What is Vivomer?

Vivomer is a type of natural polyester that is created in the cells of microorganisms, like bacteria. It’s nature’s gift to us in our mission to eliminate plastic waste. It behaves very much like plastic in that it’s extremely stable when you are using it, but it starts to degrade when you throw it away, and it ends up in a natural environment. 

In addition, our formula is 100% natural and includes organic and inorganic additives, ensuring it will degrade anywhere and will never leave behind any toxins or microplastics.

How is Vivomer made?

Vivomer is made using manufacturing processes readily available, but with a small twist. For material creation, we leverage fermentation, a process widely used in the food industry to make things like cheese. For product creation, we use existing plastic manufacturing techniques such as injection molding, blow molding and extrusion.

Why is Vivomer so stable in use?

Vivomer is a pretty incredible material. And often we find people really surprised that it can perform so well in use, but then degrade so readily. 

The reason is because traditionally sustainable materials break down due to high heat or water exposure, but Vivomer is through the process of microbes covering the entire surface and starting to eat the material. This can only happen in fully natural conditions such as soils or waste streams.

What happens when it comes into contact with regular water?

Nothing! Vivomer is stable in contact with water. 

Is Vivomer going to be compatible with ingredients in my formula?

We always recommend customers to test their formulas themselves, as every formula is different. However, to date, we haven’t had any issues with formulas, including those that have active ingredients.

How do I seal this packaging?

One of our core principles is mono-material solutions. For our jar solutions, we provide a gasket that is also made from Vivomer and can work with both supplements and beauty formulations.

End of Life

Can I home-compost this product?

Yes, all our form factors degrade within 52 weeks. We can evidence this through photographic results of our forms in a number of different home composters in our office. Our material has also been certified to Ok2home compost by TUV Austria.

We are aware that different environmental conditions can impact the timeline for degradation, so in order to get a broader set of data we are now collecting the same information but globally. If your product doesn’t look exactly like our photos – please get in touch, as that will help build our wider data set!

Can I throw my product into food waste?

There are two ways food waste is dealt with in the UK, industrial composting and anaerobic digestion.

In Industrial Compost

Our material technically degrades in an industrial compost. However, we now need to build those partnerships globally. We are currently running our material in a pilot with Envar compost to ensure it can be used in this system. We are also working to build wider partnerships across industrial composters in different geographies. In the interim, you can rest easy as our material will not contaminate compost streams as we have made sure it can be sorted out using their current systems. 

Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic Digestion is a new type of waste stream being introduced to deal with food waste. We are running our material in a pilot with Future Biogas to ensure our material can be used in this system. It’s still a work in progress and we will keep you posted on our progress.

What happens when this ends up in landfill?

Our product is completely natural, and so behaves similarly to organic matter such as food and trees. We have identified that the microbes required to break down our product do exist in landfill and so the product will degrade without leaving microplastics. We’re working with a lab to define the exact timeline but it’s within 2-5 years, in contrast to plastics which don’t readily degrade.

Can I re-use this?

Yes, and please do! If you’d like, you can throw it in your dishwasher and use it around the house.

What happens when this material is incinerated?

A waste stream that is not commonly talked about but is used widely, is incineration. 43% of plastic waste in Europe is incinerated; therefore, consideration must be given to the environmental impacts of different materials in incineration conditions when selecting packaging materials.

Vivomer is a high performance material in incineration conditions, with extremely low or no emissions of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, a recent study found that burning non-degradable plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) a.nd polyvinyl chloride (PVC), release 100 times more VOCs. 

*Jang, M., Yang, H., Park, S. A., Sung, H. K., Koo, J. M., Hwang, S. Y., … & Park, J. (2022). Analysis of volatile organic compounds produced during incineration of non-degradable and biodegradable plastics. Chemosphere, 134946.

Can I recycle this?

Our material technically can be recycled. However, as we know plastics that are produced in lower volumes aren’t easily recycled. We are now building those partnerships globally, so that once we scale we can directly plug into those systems as well. In the interim, you can rest easy as our material will not contaminate recycling streams as we have made sure it can be sorted out using their current systems.

What happens if this is accidentally littered?

Our material behaves like organic matter at it’s end of life, therefore, while it won’t disappear immediately, just like a tree branch it will be non-toxic and degrade over time.