Toxic green algae upcycled into smart bio-plastic

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva


Green algal bloom is a prevalent environmental hazard. Some algae can produce toxins, and some do not. However, exposure to any algae blooms can impact the health of people and animals when water with blooms is swallowed, touched, or inhaled.

To help address this problem, UK-based plastic technology specialist, Symphony Environmental, has partnered with French biotech company, Eranova, to upcycle toxic green algae into smart bio-plastic bags.

The innovation seeks to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuel-based plastic and explore ways to make the toxic green algae useful, making it a win-win for sustainability. 

The upcycling process begins by extracting starch from the algae to produce a compostable and biodegradable resin, the material used in manufacturing packaging and other plastic products. 

In addition, the remaining biomass can be used to produce biofuel, the proteins for animal feed, and the by-products for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

More companies are developing innovative ways to produce bio-plastics, from using livestock excrement to creating glitter from fruits. The new bioplastic bags are a great example of a circular economy that involves more than just waste. The algae are often removed from beaches and dumped in landfills, but by turning them into biodegradable products, the algae gain a second life.

“We are delighted with our collaboration and distribution agreement with Eranova, announced in September last year,” said Michael Laurier, CEO, Symphony Environmental. “This innovative technology looks very promising, and we are excited to see how it develops.”

Symphony has created several eco-friendly products to replace fossil fuel-based plastics. Aside from the algae-based plastic bags, the company also launched an oxy-biodegradable plastic that decomposes in the presence of oxygen and a water-soluble laundry bag that can hold damp clothing but dissolves upon washing. 

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Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.



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