Metabolix targets bioplastic bottle

Metabolix announced yesterday about a $350,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop biobased biodegradable HDPE-alternative plastic bottle.

The biodegradable resins are expected to be used for blow molded bottles and other containers. Metabolix cites that over 2 million tons/year of high density polyethylene are used for this application as according to the American Plastics Council.

Metabolix seeks to improve formulation of its biobased polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) for this application. Their PHA is currently made from corn.

By the way, this is an opportunity for me to list down other developments in the plastic sector:

  • Chinese scientists have developed a cheap, eco-friendly method to extract dyes from wastewater, which can then be used to color plastics (via Royal Society of Chemistry).

  • USDA researchers have developed chicken feather-derived biodegradable plastic flower pots. Another USDA researchers are also developing polystyrene made from potato, corn or wheat starches.

  • Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast are pioneering a new technique for the use of banana plants in the production of plastic products.

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