How We Got Involved With Biodegradable Mulch
Custom Bioplastics is located in Washington State, in the Skagit Valley. While many around the world know the Skagit Valley for its famous tulips, it is also a major growing center for a wide variety of crops. Washington State University is the leading agricultural research university in Washington State. One of their research facilities is located a short distance from our facility.
In 2005 Washington State University, in conjunction with three other universities, received a USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative grant for the study of biodegradable mulch films in agriculture. We were interested as we had spent a number of years developing biodegradable/compostable films, serving as a test/extrusion facility for a number of major biodegradable resin manufacturers.
We are also growers and have a very strong interest in new methods of crop production.
As part of the grant, industry advisors volunteered to be involved. We saw this as an opportunity to learn firsthand about how biodegradable mulch films fit in agricultural, farming, and gardening. We became an film manufacturer industry advisor.
Serving in this capacity proved both interesting and educational. Our close proximity to the one of the testing grounds allowed us to regularly see for ourselves the on-going progress of the project along with the ability to monitor the biodegradation, of the various films involved. We listened to the concerns of farmers, professors, and testers. What we saw and heard influenced us in the development of our own mulch film formulations.
Working with WSU also afforded us the opportunity to have a number of our own biodegradable mulch film formulations tested in real world conditions. The results of those tests have brought us to the formulations we are using today.
Beginning in the spring of 2015 Washington State University, along with the University of Tennessee, and Montana State University are part of a new USDA grant to continue the study of biodegradable mulch film for agriculture. Our NatuREcycle biodegradable mulch film is included in the new study. We have again agreed to serve as an industry advisor.
You can find information and results of the first USDA grant study here http://mtvernon.wsu.edu/hightunnels/Content/projectDescription.html
Click here for ongoing information on the current biodegradable mulch study and an ever growing tool chest of information about biodegradable mulch films.