Saving the planet - it’s Naturally Yours Issue 1

Saving the planet - it's Naturally Yours Issue 1

A new process is being used to manufacture bioplastic out of green algae, which is an environmental hazard Spotted: UK-based plastic technology specialist, Symphony Environmental, has teamed up with the French biotech company, Eranova, to create a new “smart plastic” bag using upcycled green algae. The technology aims to not only reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuel-intensive plastic but also present new uses for green algae. Green algae proliferation is a common environmental nuisance. It accumulates in large quantities on beaches, which can create toxic conditions for humans and wildlife. Symphony Environmental has partnered with Eranova to pioneer a technology that transforms green algae into bio-plastic Eranova’s process extracts starch from the algae to produce a biodegradable and compostable resin, which is then used to manufacture packaging and other products. The biomass can also be usedto produce biofuel, proteins for food and animal feed, as well as by-products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. By using algae, Eranova is able to produce a fossil-fuel-free bioplastic that does not rely on food crops, making it a win-win for sustainability. Describing the project, CEO of Symphony Environmental, Michael Lauriersaid, “We are delightedwith our collaboration and distribution agreement withEranova,announced in September last year. This innovative technology looks very promising,and weareexcited to seehow it develops.” Bioplastics are seemingly everywhere at the moment, from scented room dividers to construction materials. Many of these, however, are made from food waste or food crops, which means there is often an additional carbon cost in producing them. The Eranova product, which is made from a renewable source that would otherwise be disposed of, could be a more sustainable option. Written By: Lisa Maglof

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Takeaway: The new bioplastic bags are a great example of a circular economy that involves more than just waste. The algae is often removed from beaches and dumped in landfills, but by turning it into biodegradable products, the algae gains a second life. Symphony has a good track record in producing novel, biodegradable products to replace fossil fuel-based plastics. In addition to the new biodegradable plastic bags, the company earlier introduced an “oxy-biodegradable plastic which become biodegradable in the presence of oxygen and a water-soluble laundry bag that can hold damp linen, yet dissolves in the wash.

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