Heartland in Detroit and Ravago Develop Hemp-based Plastic Additives

Close up of male hand holding plastic polymer granules
Detroit’s Heartland Industries and Ravago Americas have developed hemp-base additives for plastic resin. // Stock Photo

Heartland Industries, a biotech company that engineers hemp fibers as additives for plastics based in Detroit, and Ravago Americas have signed a joint development agreement to create the next generation of plastic resins.

Ravago Americas, headquartered in Orlando, is a subsidiary of Ravago, which totals more than 6.6 million metric tons of annual polymer sales at more than 325 locations across 55 countries.

The collaboration seeks to drive material innovation for Ravago and other large plastic volume companies. Heartland’s hemp additives will help reduce the cost, weight, and carbon footprint of raw materials.

“By using hemp additives in recycled plastics, Ravago has the opportunity to become the premier raw material supplier for manufacturers with sustainability mandates,” says Jesse Henry, CEO of Heartland. “Heartland will support manufacturers who want to increase the performance and reduce the carbon footprint of the plastics they use every day.”

Heartland has worked alongside Ravago to engineer its hemp materials as renewable additives for plastics. Ravago’s research and development team has guided Heartland in engineering products that do not require additional retooling costs for plastic compounders and molders.

Industrial hemp is a carbon-negative and renewable, which allows Ravago and similar companies to offer composite products that are stronger, lighter, cheaper, and more sustainable. These plastics from Ravago will have enhanced thermal and acoustic properties and help prolong the life of materials that use recycled content.

Ravago’s production capabilities consist of more than 45 manufacturing facilities—recycling and compounding plants, production plants for the building sector, and plants and laboratories for its chemicals business.

The engineered hemp additives from Heartland can reduce the carbon footprint of virgin plastics by up to 44 percent. It is also focused on verifying the impact of hemp-filled recycled plastics compared to virgin plastics typically compounded with mineral fillers.

After the 2022 farming cycle, Heartland estimates it will be able to process more than 100 million pounds of hemp additives that will be available for plastic compounding. The two companies will continue to research and develop products to serve automotive, packaging, building materials, and other markets.