Petro-plastic is forever – or at least it is now, with billions of tons of it swirling through our oceans and taking over landfills. Researchers have developed biodegradable plastics made from plants instead of oil, but they require acreage and fresh water to grow the raw materials.
Now a Tel Aviv University research team may have found a way to make bioplastic without the need to sacrifice land and water in the process.
The scientists have developed a process that uses seaweed – a form of algae – as a raw material. The algae are digested by single-celled organisms, which then excrete a form of polymer suitable to make a biodegradable plastic.
Bioplastics will remain a growth research area for years to come, with new feedstocks and processes creating myriad opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.