Review: Green Bioplastics as part of a circular bioeconomy ($) (TIPS)

I feel guilty about using plastics but it’s hard to break free; they are so integral to a modern lifestyle. However, the problem of plastic pollution is frightening. About 80% of manufactured plastic ends up in landfills or the natural environment. It’s appalling to learn that the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” covers 1.6 million km2. That’s why I am encouraged by articles like this from Karan and Funk et al., on the potential for green, biodegradable plastics; I want guilt-free plastics. This review focuses on the potential for green plastic production by cyanobacteria and green algae (to avoid competition for arable land with food-producing plants). The article describes different types of polymers that can be derived from photosynthetic cells, their applications, and potential market values. It also discusses the behind-the-scences chemistry that needs to take place both in terms of synthesis and biorefining to produce clean, green plastics. (Summary by Mary Williams) Trends Plant Sci. 10.1016/j.tplants.2018.11.010