Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are natural plastics rapidly compostable and biodegradable in the environment. These can replace the petrochemical products that we now use which are degrading our environment because of their persistance and danger to flora and fauna. These PHAs are not new – products based on these were first developed by the UK company ICI forty years ago but were expensive.This means they were only used in specialist products such as medical uses (dissolvable sutures for example).
There were several reasons for the high cost which included using raw materials that were from our food chain (The so called “plastic vs plate dilemma) and using sterile fresh water in the fermentations.
The Chinese biotechnology company Bluepha have overcome a lot of these problems by converting waste streams in seawater tanks to produce large quantities of these products. For these breakthroughs they were awarded the “Future Planet Award for SUSTAINABLE GROWTH“. Perhaps the end is in sight for the evils of the “Plastics Age” which concerns many of us at this time.