All-Natural, Drop-in Alternatives Are Transforming The Chemical Marketplace
To flavor our foods and add desired properties to our clothes and personal care products, manufacturers use chemicals. These chemicals, which are found in over 95% of everyday products, are commonly derived from petroleum and are not eco-friendly, but they represent big business for corporations like Dow Chemical. And historically, they’ve been the only option available to achieve the desired flavors, colors, textures, and functions that consumers demand.
This monopoly on the specialty chemicals market, however, is coming to an end as scientific advances enable these petro-chemicals to be replaced through alternative processes that are environmentally sustainable and all-natural.
The best part is that the raw materials used to produce these chemicals come from trash-organic waste, to be exact. Millions of tons of organic waste are produced every year by companies as they make foods, brew coffee and tea, and craft a variety of consumer goods – from furniture to face creams. Most of this organic waste ends up in landfills and in burn piles (or, in a best-case scenario, a compost bin), but in a growing niche of the specialty chemicals market, this waste serves as the essential starting material to produce natural chemicals. Carefully selected communities of bacteria break down the organic waste under tightly controlled conditions; they produce natural, valuable chemicals such as esters, carboxylic acids, thioesters, and sulfur compounds.
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