“Algae” plastics that support future life

the future of the earth

"About 200g per person per day"

This figure is the amount of plastic that one Japanese person throws away in a day. Plastics are made from petroleum-refined ethylene and propylene, but it is said that petroleum will be depleted in about 50 years if we continue to use it as it is. Therefore, " bioplastics " that do not use petroleum as a raw material are attracting attention all over the world.

Bioplastics that will support our lives in the future

Raw materials for bioplastics are mainly sugars extracted from grain resources such as corn and sugar cane. Polylactic acid (PLA), a type of bioplastic , is refined through a chemical reaction of lactic acid produced by fermentation of starch . On the other hand, using corn and sugarcane as raw materials also reduces the food supply to people on limited farms, so research is also progressing to explore raw materials other than agricultural crops. For example, fermentation by microorganisms and the production of bioplastics using cellulose (dietary fiber) have been attempted , and some companies have started production using algae as a raw material . ALGIX , an American company , has succeeded in producing plastic materials from algae, and its products are used in packaging materials, gardening materials, electronic devices, etc.

Attention to bioplastics using algae

While bioplastics are gaining attention, I would like to introduce a unique plastic product made from algae. The product named "Ooho" is an "edible" bottle invented by students in London with the aim of reducing the amount of plastic bottles thrown away. The product is made from natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed (brown algae) and decomposes in 4-6 weeks . Therefore, unlike conventional PET bottles, even if they are thrown into the soil or the sea, they will naturally decompose. In addition, since the water is covered with a gel-like film, it is possible to carry clean water, break the Ooho and drink the water inside, or eat the Ooho as it is. What's more, it takes 5 times less carbon dioxide and 9 times less energy to make Ooho than to make the same amount of plastic . Be sure to check out this unique product in the video below.

According to the website of Skipping Rocks Lab , which manufactures Ooho, unfortunately, at the moment, it is only sold at small scales at events, etc., and it seems that it is not distributed to the general public. I can't wait for the day when mass production will progress and it will be easy to get it in Japan.


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