Archives for May 2023

New Ontario Upcycling Project is Turning Food Waste into Plastic

Ontario Genomics’ wasteCANcreate program is putting garbage eating microbes to good use

The world is awash in garbage from many different industries – food waste alone is responsible for 50% of agriculture-related greenhouse gas emissions. Even with current recycling programs, our trash problem is threatening the climate, wildlife habitats and critical natural resources like fresh water.

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, help is on the way! Ontario Genomics’ new wasteCANcreate program is bringing together Canadian researchers and industry partners from the energy, agriculture & food, plastic films and performance textiles sectors to bring real-world solutions to Ontario, and the rest of the world.

How do you turn potato peels into plastic sheets and nylon fibers? Precision fermentation uses naturally occurring or engineered microbes to convert food waste into usable products like biodegradable plastics. This new method of upcycling also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, replaces the need for petroleum-based plastics and is an economic boost to the province through job creation.

Ontario Genomics President and CEO, Dr. Bettina Hamelin, says, “This is a win-win situation. Taking food waste and turning it into things like biodegradable plastic cuts down on garbage going into landfills both now and for generations to come.”  

wasteCANcreate got a jump-start with $2.3 million in funding through the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Agricultural Clean Technology program, Ontario Genomics and other industry partners.

Ontario Genomics is a non-profit organization funded by the Government of Ontario and Genome Canada. Since 2000, OG has been nurturing innovation across the province by supporting genomic technologies in the health, agriculture and food, and environment sectors. Find out more at



Maggie Blood
Innovation Communications and Public Affairs Manager