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September 29, 2023 2 min read

Swapping Oil for Algae: Spirulina Breakthrough in Bio-Plastic Technology!

Welcome back GFZs! 

You know that green powder called 'Spirulina' that has all the health benefits under the sun, and just one scoop of this superfood in your smoothie gives you vital minerals? Well, that same green powder may also be solving our plastic problem. Double goodness! 

A brilliant team of researchers from the University of Washington created bioplastics made from powdered blue-green cyanobacteria cells, also known as spirulina.


Now, why did they choose spirulina?

Spirulina grows easily, and as it grows, it gobbles up carbon dioxide, making it a carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative feedstock for plastics. 

Another reason to love the green powder is those spirulina-based plastics are not only easy to make; they are also fire-resistant. Yep, we didn’t know that one either! This makes it perfect for places where regular plastics would freak out, like data centres where machines and systems often overheat!

And lastly, these spirulina bioplastics are home-compostable & recyclable! This new bioplastic is said to degrade on the same timescale as a banana peel in a backyard compost bin, so when they reach the end of their life, they won't stick around forever like regular plastics. 

These properties open up new possibilities for various industries, including disposable food packaging! Woot woot!

When can I get my spirulina bag?

Well, not just yet... they're still tweaking things a bit. These bioplastics are strong but a tad brittle. For now, they don't handle water well (no rainy days allowed), but the team is working hard to perfect these materials.

So there you have it GFZs, talk about going green. 

Until next week! Oh, and we think you'll love this story here on The Solution to Medical Waste, Introducing Paper Blister Paks...enjoy! 

Much love, 

GFZ team xox

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