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U of Michigan start-up is working on a more environmentally friendly diaper

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 10th, 2018

A University of Michigan (U-M) startup has raised $1.6 million in seed funding to develop a more environmentally friendly diaper.

Ecovia Renewables grows thickeners and highly absorbent biomolecules to create materials that are safer and more sustainable than common synthetic materials. The start-up has demonstrated that its method can produce a biodegradable material that can compete with conventional diaper absorbency while reducing the footprint of disposable diaper use, which has contributed 3.5 million tons of landfill waste in the U.S. alone.

“What everybody wants is an environmentally friendly option that still allows the level of convenience that you get with a conventional disposable,” says Ecovia co-founder and CEO Jeremy Minty.

Though compostable diapers already exist, they haven’t been widely adopted because the eco-friendly materials often don’t absorb as much as regular disposables. Ecovia’s bio-based polymer material not only absorbs as well as the sodium polyacrylate found in most diapers, but it also retains the liquid under pressure to prevent leaks when the baby’s weight rests on the diaper.

Ecovia has received seed funding from Michigan Invests in New Technology Startups (MINTS), a U-M program that supports start-ups that have partnered with venture capital firms in their first round of seed funding. Seppic Inc., a Paris-based designer of materials for health and beauty products, also provided Ecovia with seed funding and is working with the start-up to develop ingredients for skincare products based on Ecovia’s novel manufacturing method.

Source: Michigan News

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