Algae: is there anything it can’t do? The slimy photosynthetic organism is already in the prototype stages as a biofuel, and now sustainable plastic manufacturer Cereplast has announced that it can turn algae into a sustainable bioplastic.
The company, which already makes plastic from corn, potatoes, tapioca, and wheat, says that its algae-based plastic could replace up to 50% of the petroleum content in traditional plastic resin. Cereplast plans to source its algae from companies that use the organism to minimize CO2 coming from polluting smokestacks. Algae from these photo-bioreactors is harvested daily, and can either be used for biofuel or for Cereplast’s purposes as a biopolymer. So the same algae that eats greenhouse gases from industrial processes can go back into the same factories and turned into plastic-based products. Got that?
This is all speculative–Cereplast’s algae plastic is still in the development phases. But the company is apparently fast-tracking the product, and commercial algae bioplastic resin is expected to be available by the end of next year. Cereplast could already have a potential customer in Coca-Cola, which recently unveiled the PlantBottle, a recyclable water bottle made from 30% plant-based materials.