The main selling point is rapid biodegradability in a variety of environments. Demand has increased for PHA in recent years, with several companies opening or planning commercial plants in the U.S. and beyond. In addition, major food and beverage brands are planning to switch their packaging to PHA-based materials soon.
Despite its much-touted promise, there's reason to believe PHA might be too good to be true. Several companies have tried and failed to bring it to market in recent years, and PHA is much more expensive than its traditional plastic counterparts. Beyond that, some experts have published findings saying the biodegradability of PHA is overstated, and that the rapid degradation time is based on optimized laboratory conditions rather than real-world ones. However, PHA's boosters say that it's still a better alternative to non-biodegradable plastics, and that the industry may be on the cusp of a breakthrough.