Bioplastics: Promising but pricey

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One of the bio-based plastics that have attracted major interest in recent years is PHA. Produced by bacteria, PHA is not just one, but a family of naturally occurring biopolyesters with the potential to replace a host of conventional, fossil-based resins.

Polyhydroxyalkanoates are a family of bio-based plastics that would seem to have everything going for them: renewably sourced, biocompatible, biodegradable and produced using carbon sources ranging from methane to sewage, although the fermentation performance by the bacteria differs according to feedstock.

Importantly, unlike most plastics, bio-based or otherwise, certain PHAs will also degrade in the oceans — a property that has generated growing enthusiasm for their use, in the light of the discussions about marine plastics.



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