Michigan hemp tech firm Heartland partners with global recycling company

A Michigan hemp biotech company and an  international plastics recycler, compounder and distributor have joined forces to develop plastic resins.

Heartland Industries, a company that engineers hemp fibers as additives for plastic based in Detroit, and Ravago Americas, a plastic recycler, manufacturer and distributor based in Orlando, Florida, announced Monday that the companies are working to engineer hemp materials as renewable additives for plastics.

The companies aim to drive material innovation for companies that buy large volumes of plastic. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Ravago, which operates more than 45 facilities, says it will be able to offer its customers stronger, lighter and more sustainable composite products by leveraging renewable plastic additives made from hemp.

Heartland said its engineered hemp additives can reduce the carbon footprint of virgin plastics by up to 44%.

The company, which secured a grant last month from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a soil innovation program for hemp farmers, is working to verify the impact of hemp-filled recycled plastics compared with traditional virgin plastics.

Ravago’s research and development team is providing guidance to Heartland to create products that will not require plastic compounders and molders to retool their machinery, which is often a costly expense.

Heartland estimates that following the 2022 hemp farming season, the companies will be able to process more than 100 million pounds of hemp additives for plastic compounding.

Through their agreement, Heartland and Ravago are also pursuing research and development efforts to serve the automotive, packaging and building materials industries. Both companies are privately held.