UMass Dartmouth opens $1.2 million Biodegradability Lab in New Bedford

Sep 14, 2022

NEW BEDFORD — UMass Dartmouth held an opening ceremony for its new biodegradability lab on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at its School for Marine Science & Technology in New Bedford.

The lab will support the development of biodegradable and ocean-safe plastics and other materials in an effort to increase sustainability.

Its creation comes through a combination of public and private investment, including a $739,936 grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and a $450,000 investment from PrimaLoft, a company that makes synthetic fabrics and insulations for apparel — think the liner of a Patagonia jacket.

"The opening of the new biodegradability lab at UMass Dartmouth is another incredible example of Massachusetts leading the way towards a more sustainable future," said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who spoke at the opening ceremony. "The research conducted and the products developed within the lab will offer industry and academia opportunities for growth."

The lab is designed to study how plastic products break down in environments where such waste is common, including landfills, oceans, wastewater, soil and compost.

Its research will help PrimaLoft and other companies develop synthetic materials that break down into natural components like water, biomass, CO2 and methane.

“Ultimately, this is a wonderful opportunity to bring together a business with a specific need and a university with the ability to bring it to life," said PrimaLoft President and CEO Mike Joyce, a UMass Dartmouth Alum.