By now, many have heard algae being proclaimed as the fuel source that could potentially replace a large percentage of the petroleum we use.
However, non-fuel uses of algae that can further lessen our dependence on petroleum have not gotten the attention they deserve. One such usage, while far less visible and but whom some would argue is just as important, is creating plastics.
Cereplast , a renewable plastics company, is looking into using algae as a new and renewable source of this seemingly ubiquitous material. In October 2009, it announced that algae-based resins “could replace 50 percent or more of the petroleum content used in traditional plastic resins.”
In a recent interview, Cereplast CEO Frederic Scheer explained that there are several benefits to switching over to algae-based plastics over traditional petroleum based ones. One reason is that it has the potential to help cut down the United State’s reliance on foreign oil.
“Traditional plastics are made from oil and the entire plastic and chemical industry is using up to 8 percent of our fuel and energy resources,” Scheer said. “In diverting to new [plastic] feedstock we are reducing our dependency [on foreign oil] accordingly.”