Lara Murray, Contributing Writer |
Our future is right around the corner. We already have the best and the brightest brains here at Oneonta. But before they can take off, we have other ambitious people looking to make a difference. Factories have been polluting our air since the mid-19th century to bring furniture, oil products, paper, and plastic that can only be made through machine treatment. But what if that wasn’t the case? What if I said some goods can be produced from the faults of these factories? Two companies believe they can turn this problem around by using their newfound knowledge of plastics and hemp.
On April 21, Oneonta had a panel with company Material Maxim/MAMCO to discuss with staff members and teachers about how they’re altering the plastics industries with their ideas and new products. The members were Matthew Ward, the Chief Operating Officer of a startup base that’s been around since 1964 here in Oneonta, NY. Mark Vergari, President, and co-owner of Mold-A-Matic Corporation. And on Zoom Greg Dean, the Chief Operating Officer of The Hemp Plastic Company. “This is what we would call practice really, as we develop some really state of the art materials. Not a lot of people have seen what we’re doing on the architectural materials side,” said Ward. “When we came together a few years ago, the genesis for this project is what we do with our current more extractive business system. So how do we start looking at the waste that we create? And how do we look at the processes and materials that we’re using? And how do we design our impact down? And how do we still compete?”
Ward talks of how he and his team started to pay attention to the economic rent and premiums associated with going vary. They also started to exercise early ideas for their product which then leap into action. Mainly, they wanted to bring better ways of impacting their future. Ones that could impact earth positively this time. So, Ward and his team began to drop-in replacements for waste production. They had to study and understand the design and making of plastic. After their research, they came to believe sustainability is agriculture. “We started as a bioplastic subdivision at MAMCO and this was all research-based. Research-driven. And then we began to develop our procedures and processes and actually get products made. At that point it was kicking up so much dust, people were so excited and I was able to get people really fired about all the products they were already making and easy it was going to be to transition them into a sustainable proposition. Sustainability, not to oversimplify, is something you can do forever. Our intention was we need to be able to start somewhere.” Recycling also became an interest and the key to their invention. We got to see a new product outside of their organization. Material Maxim and Hemp Plastic Company have been diligently working for the last couple of years to develop a hemp laminate. They can control its color, they can control its texture, and it’s filled with 25% hemp. Hemp plastic products can be used to better our future. By the sound of it, hemp can be made within recyclables to create things as far as furniture.
“There’s now just this evolving legislative discussion. And we kind of know the direction of it and what we’re doing is to bid on technology. We’re going to bid for manufacturers and try to anticipate where the discussion is going to go. And create pieces of technology that can quantify what we call goodness points,” said Ward. “It’s our belief that if you change the way you think, you change the way you design. You change products the consumer has to choose from and that completes the circuit.”