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Maine based start-up getting federal grant support to scale up fish friendly packaging

A Maine based start-up is getting a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to scale up its packaging that is fish friendly. Paramount Planet Product uses cellulose to create materials that can be molded into take-out food containers.

Founder Adriadne Dimoula said many plastics are made with chemicals that can't be recycled, but cellulose will naturally break down in the environment.

"That natural ability to dissolve, to biodegrade, and to not have toxic materials in it is one of the principles that we utilize in the design in our products. Nature can process it or digest it because it's never gone through a synthetic process," Dimoula said. "The materials that are plastic don't have an end of life design. They have a multitude of chemicals mixed in that make it hard to reuse at the end of its life and can make it very toxic."

Dimoula said her products can be recycled in paper streams, are ocean compostable, and don't harm fish.

Paramount Planet Product hopes to have products ready for the hospitality industry at a commercial scale in a few years.

Dimoula is also starting a foundation to test other packaging and wants to help producers improve the circular design of their packaging to make it recyclable and more environmentally friendly.

Paramount Planet Product has offices in Westbrook and Orono. They also use a lab at the Roux Institute.