The Greening of Plastics

The Cambridge Massachusetts based company Metabolix produces a sustainable, biodegradable, high-grade, environmentally friendly plastic. Yes, I too have heard the rumors of how biodegradable plastics just don’t hold up to more traditional oil based products, but not in this case. With partners like BP and a long line of grants at their doorstep, the privately held company appears poised to make a large dent in the market. Their ‘bioplastic’ is produced through clever bioengineering (developed at M.I.T), and a good grasp of plastics chemistry. Metabolix bioplastic are polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHA’s. If you’re a chemistry fan- then well …I don’t know what to say to you, but their website has a wonderful basic overview of the biology and chemistry behind the products that even I can understand. I think the well laid out educational material comes from their M.I.T. heritage. At any rate, the end result is that they can produce a wide range of plastic types, from pressure sensitive adhesives to thermoplastics, in a sustainable fashion. The company is looking for business opportunities and is hoping to expand into the marketplace as an environmentally sustainable solution to traditional plastics manufacturing. ::Metabolix [by T. McGee]