Population Health

January 17, 2024

UW researchers create biodegradable plastics from cyanobacteria

Researcher works in a labA team of researchers at the University of Washington has developed new bioplastics made exclusively out of powdered spirulina, a blue-green cyanobacteria.

Unlike the majority of current bio-based plastics, which only decompose in commercial composting facilities, the spirulina-based material breaks down easily and can be composted in backyard bins. The new bioplastics share the same mechanical properties as single-use, petroleum-based plastics and are recyclable. However, the material remains brittle and sensitive to water.

While these spirulina bioplastics mark a success in creating an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional petroleum plastics, more testing must be completed before this alternative can be fully scaled up for commercial use.

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