100%

Biodegradable

Danimer’s Nodax plastic is 100% renewable and biodegradable

150

Patents

More than 150 patents in nearly 20 countries

46%

Increase

in revenue, 2019 - 2020


The Path to Drawdown: Bioplastics

Almost all of the plastic produced each year is made from fossil fuels. Fortunately, some 90% of the plastics being made today can instead be made from plants. 

Bioplastics can be made from the cellulose contained in the cell walls of potatoes, sugarcane, tree bark, and algae. They can also be manufactured from chitin that comes from the shells and exoskeletons of crustaceans and insects. These natural polymers are similar to the chainlike polymers that give plastics their malleability, but the resulting bioplastics are often biodegradable and emit fewer greenhouse gases than petro-plastics.

Today, aside from the need to expand their production, the challenge for bioplastics is the difficulty of separating them from other waste and appropriate processing. If bioplastics can’t biodegrade but instead end up in landfills, they can’t fulfil their promise as a solution to climate change.

Project Drawdown estimates that, to stay under 1.5°C of global warming by the end of the century, bioplastics need to expand to account for 46% of all plastics being produced in 2050. If the world can achieve this, bioplastics can help avoid 3.8 gigatons of CO2e between 2020 and 2050.

About

Danimer produces bio-based plastics using microorganisms to create polyesters by feeding them inexpensive plant oils.

Danimer Scientific, Inc. (stock ticker: DNMR), a performance polymer company, makes bioplastic replacements for traditional petrochemical-based plastics. It produces polyhydroxyalkanoate, a biodegradable plastic feedstock alternative used in a range of plastic applications like water bottles, straws, food containers, and other things under the Nodax brand name; polylactic acid-based resins for coating disposable paper cups; and other biopolymers. The company offers its products to manufacturers in the plastics industry. Danimer was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in Bainbridge, Georgia.

DNMR's Role in Drawdown

Danimer manufactures two types of bioplastic resins. Their polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is created by harvesting and processing canola seeds, which are then fermented with soil bacteria and results in biodegradable polyesters. A comparable alternative to petrochemical-based plastics, this PHA is customizable for different purposes, FDA-approved for food contact, able to withstand high temperatures, and capable of bonding with other materials like paper. 

Danimer manufactures another proprietary plastic using the natural plastic polylactic acid (PLA), which is made from dextrose sugar that is derived from corn, sugar beets and sugar cane. This plastic is industrially compostable under heat and moisture within 180 days.

DNMR: What We Like

We commend Danimer for continuously researching and developing technologies and processes for biodegradable plastics. For example, they are:

  • Collaborating with Chevron Phillips Chemical to develop technology for lower-cost biodegradable polymer manufacturing
  • Using a $400,000 grant from the United Soybean Board to expand research on high-oleic soybean oil in the production of biodegradable plastics

DNMR: What We Want to See Improve

Disclose Sustainability Metrics


We’re very optimistic about Danimer’s products, but we also want to know the company’s carbon footprint. As of now, Danimer doesn’t make any sustainability information available. As investors become more worried about the climate impact of their portfolio, Danimer needs to enhance their transparency around this issue, particularly by disclosing their GHG emissions, emissions avoided through their products, and energy consumed by source.

Set Emissions Reduction Targets


Once their sustainability metrics are disclosed, we’d like to see Danimer set targets for reducing their footprint. These targets should be science-based, in-line with the global goal to stay under 1.5 °C of global warming, and clearly reported in an annual sustainability report.

Electrify Operations


Danimer’s operations (R&D, manufacturing and additional facility construction) are not yet very large, so we don’t think emissions from powering them are significant, either. But we’d still like to see Danimer use as much renewable and clean energy as possible to power these operations.

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