- Plastic Waste & Pollution
- Circular Economy
- Circular Economy
- Technology & Innovation
Tarek Moharram Discusses Truly Green Plastic™ Biodegradable Cannabis Biomass Solutions
Warren Bobrow interviews Tarek Moharram of Moharram Ventures. Tarek is the creator of Truly Green Plastic™, an environmentally encouraging solution to packaging cannabis in traditional non-disposable, plastic bags. This product comes from cannabis biomass and it is biodegradable. There is so much waste in packaging cannabis for sale. Truly Green Plastic™ offers an alternative that is good for the earth.
WB: Please tell me about your company? What do you do? Where do you want to take your ideas?
TM: I often call Moharram Ventures a project management and business consulting company – but, really, we’re an idea factory. We take concepts and build them into reality. My role to this point has been to catalyze our projects based upon opportunities that I identify, build agile teams which are capable of turning my concepts into reality, and creating the partnerships necessary to ensure our work has the greatest possible impact. As time goes on, and the size and capacity of our Contributor teams expand, we will be working on more than just my ideas – there will be plenty of brilliant concepts which arise from other members of our team.
One of the projects we’re most proud of has resulted in the creation of Truly Green Plastic™. At first, it was a simple idea – why didn’t dog waste bags have the capacity to break down in landfill based on contact with their organic contents? I realized that the products which were on the market at the time were over-engineered – they could do much more than hold dog waste and, as a result, took much longer than needed to break down. Many of the so-called ‘biodegradable’ options required either industrial composting plants (which are sparsely available) or significant access to oxygen and sunlight in order to break down (circumstances which do not exist when buried under layer upon layer of other types of landfill waste). I built a team of experts and challenged them to make a polymer that would naturally break down based on contact with organic matter within less than a year and leave no harmful residual material behind. The other problem with traditional biodegradable plastics that we had to solve was one of cost – in addition to poor mechanical properties, past biodegradable polymers were far too expensive to create widespread consumer demand. In order to succeed, we had to also make our solution affordable.
Our team has discovered that cannabis plant biomass can produce biodegradable plastics with enhanced mechanical properties and developed the technology to accomplish this feat. Also, since this particular input material is often discarded as waste, using it to create Truly Green Plastic™ helps to drive down our production cost because waste removal becomes an additional revenue stream to subsidize our expenses. Shockingly, only about 10% of what is grown to support the adult use cannabis marketplace ends up on the shelves – the rest is biomass we can use! We’ve also realized that our sustainable polymers can be turned into many more things than just dog waste bags – other types of packaging materials (like envelope films and press & twist containers), drug delivery devices (like inhalers and transdermal patches), and hospitality products (like straws and food packaging) are just some of the options we are considering at this time. Our work has been funded by the Government of Canada through a partnership with Lambton College and we have begun attracting significant interest from the investment community.