Potatoes, algae replace oil in US company’s plastics

HAWTHORNE, December 22, 2009 (AFP) – Frederic Scheer is biding his time, convinced that by 2013 the price of oil will be so high that his bio-plastics, made from vegetables and plants, will be highly marketable. Cereplast, which has 25 employees in California and in Indiana, has accumulated a series of patents for the technology it uses to create the bio-plastics.

With annual sales of five million dollars, Cereplast manufactures resins that biodegrade naturally within three months for use in products including cups, plastic lids and packaging.

They also produce “hybrid” resins of polypropylene that are stronger and more durable, for use in cars or children’s toys.

“In using our resin, we basically inject up to 50 percent agricultural renewable resources… giving them a better carbon footprint,” said Scheer.

“Each time you create one kilo of traditional polypropylene, you create 3.15 kilos of carbon dioxide. When we create one kilo of bio-propylene, we create 1.40 kilos of carbon dioxide, so clearly you have a substantial saving with respect to greenhouse gases, creating a much better carbon footprint for the product,” he said.

Creating plastics that are biodegradable is key, Scheer says