Green Week: Corn starch is the new plastic

Benjamin, I want to say one word to you, just one word. Are you listening? Starch.

Hawthorne, CA, based Cereplast is changing the world of plastics, creating a more eco-friendly version made from the starches in corn, tapioca, wheat and potatoes. The “natural” plastic is perfect for the food-service industry, as California now requires all take-out containers to be recyclable or compostable. The company also recently unveiled a new hybrid plastic called Biopolyolefin that can be used in consumer electronics, cosmetics, toys and packaging. Biopolyolefin is 50% starch and 50% hydrocarbon.

Why not use the 100%-spud stuff? Because the enemy of today’s potatoes in your fridge remains the enemy of tomorrow’s potato-based laptop: heat and time. A DVD made of all-starch plastic probably wouldn’t last that long, and exposure to air speeds up the breakdown. And don’t think the new natural-based material means you could ever snack on your BlackBerry. None of the resins are designed to be eaten, not even if you trapped in an avalanche. But at least you’ll still be able to play Tetris. — Trevor Curwin

Via Cereplast

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