Three things that could reduce our reliance on environmentally-harmful plastic: Government regulations, consumer behavior, science.
Science is the only one I have faith in.
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On this front, the good news is that biotechnology company Danimer Scientific is making impactful strides in bioplastics. Because government intervention is impossible to unpalatable, and because consumers as a whole are generally lazy, selfish and married to their habits, science-ing up an eco-friendly plastic is our best way out of this mess.
Danimer has been experimenting with polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a naturally-occuring polymer. When certain types of bacteria are allowed to ferment in canola oil, they start synthesizing PHA in powder form. The resultant powder can be pelletized and injection molded, or extruded into films. It’s food-safe and most importantly, it’s biodegradable.
Here’s Danimer’s manufacturing process for PHA:
The company says PHA has a wide range of applications, including:
– Produce bags
– Shopping bags
– Diaper linings
– Trash bags
– Seals, labels, glues and much more
Up next, we’ll look at a commercial application for PHA that, if everything goes right, we’ll encounter in our everyday lives.