Suzano Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Brazilian market pulp producer Suzano, has made a strategic investment into Canadian materials science startup Bioform Technologies.

The investment provides up to $5m towards the company’s seed round, enabling it to accelerate the development of its bio-based plastics.

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The products can be manufactured through modified industrial processes already used in the pulp and paper sector.

Bioform’s proprietary technology produces wood pulp-reinforced hydrogels to create the plastic alternatives, which can be made using Suzano’s wood pulp fibre as a key input.

The materials have the potential to be home compostable or recycled through existing paper recycling processes and do not require fossil-based inputs.

The technology has a number of applications, including paper recyclable thermoformable films for packaging applications and compostable heat-sealable films for pouches, agriculture, and garbage bags.

With the potential to offer an 80% lower carbon footprint than conventional single-use plastics, Bioform’s bio-based technology has similar or enhanced product performance to conventional plastics in areas such as tensile strength and permeability for oxygen or water vapour.

Bioform CEO Chris Clark commented: “Our goal is to produce sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at the speed of paper and at the cost of plastic.”

Suzano Ventures senior manager added: “The great challenge is scaling production and getting to cost competitiveness versus cheap single-use plastic. We believe that Bioform has the opportunity to disrupt established supply chains and rapidly replace the need for fossil-based materials.”