Florida Science Newsmaker in 2011
Stephen A. Miller earns the title of a
Stephen A. Miller's biodegradable plastic breaks down in five to 10 years compared to 1,000 years for petroleum-based plastics. [Photo: Matthew Lester]
Stephen A. Miller and his team have invented a biodegradable plastic that can be used to replace petroleum-based shopping bags, beverage bottles and other items. The degradable polymers are derived from inexpensive biomass sources, including sugar, plant oils and agricultural wastes. One polymer is derived from paper mill or bioethanol plant waste and mimics polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which accounts for 18% of the worldwide plastics market. Miller's technology has spun off into a company called Florida Sustainables, which won the $50,000 Cade Prize for Innovation in 2011. Florida Sustainables is in talks with plastics manufacturers interested in using its technology.
— Cynthia Barnett
Florida Sustainables CEO Ryan Martin displays the company's new plastic.