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(Molecular bonding process of plant matter to polymers as seen under an electron microscope)



By Michael Murphy November 12, 2017

New Hemp based Bio-Plastics like this translucent version are now commercially available worldwide. 

Made in North America.


Staff writer Michael Murphy recently met with Best Practices Packaging President, Kevin Tubbs, about his role in the recent commercialization of hemp bioplastic.  Best Practices is the catalyst behind a partnership of farmers, processors, chemical compounders, injection molders, film extruders and packaging converters, all committed to a better environment.  The sheer scale of their breakthrough makes hemp based bioplastic price competitive for the first time in American history. The implications are enormous.  The following is an excerpt from that interview:


Remember during olden times, (like last week) when people used to think plastic was made of fossil fuels?

Well, those days are apparently over, thanks to eco-packaging developer Kevin Tubbs, VP, Mathew Eaton, and the forward-thinking partners of

Best Practices Packaging (BPP).   


Committed to the cause, Tubbs and company have spent the last 12 years on a mission to save the planet, one eco-friendly package at a time. 
The newest development rolling out of BPP carries with it, earth-changing implications. They want us to imagine a world where fossil fuel based plastics have been replaced with affordable biopolymers from plant materials like hemp.  They tell of new bioplastics that can be engineered to compost at the end of their lifecycle. 

While their idea is easy to love, it may take some education of the market before bioplastic is fully embraced. Personally, when I think of plastic packaging, I still imagine an oceanic gyre of trash the size of Kentucky.

As I broach the subject of pollution, it elicits more than one wince from Tubbs, who explains:

“Through offering sustainable, compostable, and renewable, hemp bio-plastic at this scale, we are finally giving manufacturers eco-friendly options at competitive prices. I am hopeful that our breakthrough can begin to change the way people view the entire industry”. 

If initial demand is any indicator, manufacturers adopting ‘Best Practices’ may indeed give Exxon Mobil a reason to tremble. Packaging companies, car makers, and even his own competitors are contacting Kevin with hopes of using his new plastic to convert to greener options.
“We intend to take the environmental sting out of buying plastic goods by making the plastic…good”
Kevin Tubbs, President Best Practices Packaging
It’s apparent when you meet Tubbs, he doesn’t just talk the talk. We caught up with the former telecom executive turned ecological entrepreneur at his off-grid design center on the banks of the Little Susitna River, in Fishhook, Alaska. While not lacking in technology at the “Barn”, Kevin, his family and crew lead decidedly low carbon footprint lives. A little more common perhaps, when you are surrounded by about 16 million acres of Alaskan wilderness north of Anchorage.

For over a decade, BPP has been focused on bringing to market eco-friendly packaging solutions with one consistent theme: Respect for the planet. 



Industrialists have known for decades that hemp held remarkable properties.  In 1938, Popular Mechanics magazine touted Hemp as being the next "Billion Dollar Crop with over 25,000 uses and over 5,000 textile uses alone.  The seeds of the Hemp Plant are considered so nutritious they are referred to as a superior super-food (Containing all 21 Amino Acids & Omega EFA's in the optimal ratio for Human Health).  Were it not for confused Federal intervention, the industry would have continued to mature.  Recent regulatory changes have opened doors prompting these new developments.

  North American hemp

We had a few questions for Kevin.  His answers are in italics below:


“Synergy; We are catalysts in this venture, bringing the ideal partners together with one focus. Commercialization.   Our stakeholders include arguably the largest producers of nutritional hemp products in North America.  Another is perhaps the largest flexible packaging company in the USA, with facilities capable of co-packing slightly over a billion units a year. Together, we bring to market a range of nutritional products such as high protein powder, hemp hearts, and hemp oil, as well as snacks like toasted hemp seeds.  In ramping up, I came to understand that the residual product remaining, after making all these nutritional items is an unusual form of hemp biomass. Normally, it’s sold as cattle feed for its high protein value, but with some testing we discovered that once through our unique treatment process, it also happens to be a superb feedstock for making a range of masterbatch bioplastics. Initially, my goal was simply to make enough hemp plastic so that we could wrap all of our nutritional products in ultra-green hemp containers. The response to this idea was such a wealth of open arms, we started to grasp the gravity of our development.  Now, we see more clearly the future implications of our unique bioplastic. We we are prepared to commercialize it, offer a range of properties and blends as the market demands, and open this special bioplastic up to a world of new users”

Hempseed Hearts are a healthy new ingredient showing up across the menu. 
Ranked as a superfood with nearly unbeatable nutritional value, they carry a subtle, nutty flavor.


“We are not only the producers of our product; we are users as well.  This gives us a unique competitive advantage.   Our vertical integration is paired with new technology, never previously applied to this medium.”


“It’s endless. We can produce virtually whatever the market demands. To start things off, we made a Hemp Polypropylene, followed by a hemp-based Poly Lactic Acid for 3D printing machines and myriad other uses. There appears nearly no limitation on the kinds of plastic we can make with hemp, adding characteristics like extra strength, flexibility and opacity. Anything you need, we can put into the manufacture of this product.  Our current capacity well exceeds 50 million lbs. of hemp bioplastics Per harvest and we expect to nearly double that next year.


“I am forever thankful for being able to live here in Alaska and find my work abroad.  It’s a pristine place to come home to, where I can hike for miles without seeing a trace of man. For those who appreciate this kind of thing, Alaska is unbeatable.  I think most people WANT to be eco-conscious but today, it’s not so easy. The solution is to make being green more simple. We intend to take the environmental sting out of buying plastic goods by making the plastic… good”

Considering himself more innovator than inventor, Kevin recognizes he’s been walking in the footsteps of famed industrialist Henry Ford. 
Tubbs explained to me that just like Ford and his crew, the Best Practices team is working on bioplastic because necessity is the mother of invention. The issue for Tubbs is ecology centered, ensuring that he makes his own contribution to protecting the environment.  Ford pioneered conversion from metal body panels’ to hemp plastic during wartime (metals were rationed at the time, and desperately needed for our nation’s defense). 

Known for handing a hammer to admirers of his hemp cars, and letting them take a whack to see if they could strike a quarter panel hard enough to hurt it.  Ford is quoted:  “My hemp body panels can’t be beat”

 (Ford and one of his actual hemp vehicles)  

“It turns out that ol’ Henry was right”, says Kevin. “Hemp is absolutely ideal for making a wide range of renewable, compostable bioplastics and can be engineered to offer nearly any attribute commonly found in a raw fossil-based polymer.”


“At BPP, we have both feet firmly planted in the convergence of new technology and recently lifted governmental restrictions on hemp” explains Kevin. He went further saying, “Without these simultaneous events, BPP would not be able to do this at a scale allowing competitive end pricing”

Hemp biomass offers myriad commercial applications including the production of a wide range of renewable, compostable, sustainable bioplastics


“Unlike our predecessors, our packaging partners go through football fields worth of plastic each year.  It’s easier for us to occupy this segment because this in-house volume can capitalize R and D, shouldering the cost while we convert our clients from fossil-based plastic to these amazing renewables.  Certainly, we are leveraging space age technology and pairing it with some proven ideas from the past” says Kevin.
While small amounts of hemp plastic have been made in Asia and Europe where restrictions were jettisoned years ago, Best Practices proprietary method used here in North America is unique.  Furthermore, the sheer volume of this endeavor has brought the end-user cost down, low enough for even the biggest plastic buyers to take note. Best Practices is working with a group of the largest hemp producers in North America and unlike crude oil, the supply of hemp is price stable and never ending.  This opens the door to fortune 500-sized users for the first time.


“I am pleased you asked, because market potential is the part that raised our eyebrows the highest.  The fact is, while we are pretty familiar with packaging, the plastics manufactures we buy from work in scales we could hardly imagine when we first identified this opportunity.   For example, at capacity we are about to fill about 169 traincars with bioplastic, and normally…that would seem like a lot.  I know, because I ran these numbers myself, over and over again in disbelief.  However, when you compare the 360 million ton plastics industry to our little 50 million lbs. of annual bioplastic production, our capacity seems relatively puny doesn’t it? We intend to sell out of stock on each harvest and are currently sourcing more hemp biomass in anticipation of widespread adoption of this eco-friendly material”


“Since the 1937 “Marihuana Prohibition Act” everyone’s barrier to entry has remained DuPont’s propaganda and the confusing of two plants, which resulted in the misguided over-regulation that killed the hemp industry. As people came to their senses and regulations started to relax, it was then the economic hurdle of small supply vs. high cost that stood in the way.  Thanks to our alliance with the progressive folks in the PENTA5 family, with their dynamic plastic packaging capabilities, and the growing hemp resources of our North American hemp grower partners, the time is now to release ourselves from our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a whole new world of eco-friendly alternatives. Specifically, we are thankful to Charles Murray, President of PENTA5 who has been behind our efforts all the way. We certainly wouldn’t be here without the enthusiastic support of PENTA5 and partners. “

Kevin is no shrinking violet when it comes to getting his message out, he is yet to see an industry that can’t be improved by these ultra-green polymers. Samples of the new designs are landing on the boardroom tables of corporations worldwide, some with carbon footprints currently leaving deep heel marks all over the planet.


While the two plants have a similarly shaped leaf, for those who still confuse hemp with marijuana, the difference is stark.   First, hemp is not a viable source of THC, (the psychoactive ingredient found in pot). In fact, you could probably smoke an entire farm of hemp and never get high.  Unlike its hippy-cherished cousin’, hemp represents an extremely protein-rich, highly fibrous and nutritious superfood. To top it off, it is currently being tested as an effective medicinal substance that can have an effect on a growing list of maladies, everything from healing wounds to helping patients with Parkinson’s, and even epilepsy.


“Now that quantities are available, I would like to see companies from LEGO to Lamborghini convert their fossil fuel materials to something far more earth friendly like sustainable, renewable, compostable hemp bioplastic.  It’s good for the products, the consumers and our planet”


“With hemp, we can make just about anything you can make with fossil fuel-based plastic.  We are still learning our limitations (or lack thereof), so try us!”

Do you have an application for bioplastics?  For more information the Best Practices team welcomes your inquiries.

tel:            907-441-3333

Hemp for Health