René Rozendal is the Managing Director of Paques Biomaterials. Paques Biomaterials produces Caleyda, a natural alternative to plastic which is made from organic waste streams like waste water and food waste. Caleyda is fully biodegradeble in all earth environments.

This video was made in collaboration with Startup Stage of ChemistryNL.

How did Paques Biomaterials originate?

’I studied chemical engineering in Delft, did my PhD in Wageningen and Leeuwarden and spent three years at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. I returned to the Netherlands to work at Paques in 2011. After several positions within R&D, I became Chief Technology Officer. One of our goals was developing an alternative to plastic. That was quite different than Paques’ core business and we split off in 2021. Now I’m co-founder and co-shareholder.’

Why did you choose this project?

’It’s an urgent problem that’s completely underexposed. Our addiction to plastics causes severe plastic pollution. A part of all plastic will inevitably leak into the environment and degrade into microplastics. They accumulate in the food chain and eventually it ends up on your own plate. These days, microplastics are in our blood. There are possible alternative and we’re working on one of them: a bio-degradable polymer from waste streams.’

How does it work?

’We feed organic waste to bacteria via a yoyo diet. That yields bacteria that excel at saving bacterial fat: they can fill their cells with up to ninety percent fat. We can extract that material, which looks, feels and behaves like a plastic. When it leaks into the environment, it’ll break down within weeks to several years, depending on it’s thickness. This material won’t end as microplastics.’