News Brief: Israel university creates sustainable "plastics"

TEL AVIV - Researchers with Tel Aviv University in Israel announced they have developed technology to help reduce the use of plastics. The invention, made of bioplastic polymers, would serve as an alternative to plastics and produce zero toxic waste, according to a Tel Aviv University statement.

Creators of the biopolymer technology said the plastic alternative would be biodegradable and could recycle into organic waste. The plastic alternative could be made without using land or freshwater resources, according to researchers.

Dr. Alexander Golberg and Prof. Michael Gozin, both of Tel Aviv University, spearheaded the invention as part of a multidisciplinary collaboration between the institution's School of Chemistry and Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences. Golberg and Gozin published the results of their collaborative study in Bioresource Technology.

The discovered technology relies upon the harnessing of microorganisms that feed on seaweed to create the bioplastic polymer.

The question now is whether the new technology could be scaled and ultimately help reduce plastic waste in our waterways.

Tel Aviv University received support from the university's regional research and development center in Kfar Kara, Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Energy and Infrastructures.

Plastic waste, which could take hundreds of years to decay, has often been cited as the most common pollutant in the world's oceans.