Science & Art meet for future Seaweed Biodegradable Plastics and Polymers

9th June 2021

Artist, Niki Sperou and Biotechnologist, Peng Su, spoke about their CMBD, 2020 ANAT Synapse project, “Green Plastics – Blue Ocean”, during a Zoom chat for the Port Adelaide Environment Centre.

Niki & Peng explained that technology is important but was not the stand-alone focus of their project. Designing requires cultural understanding. Working together, they hoped to develop questions and communicate unconventional ideas, allowing them rethink plastics.

To address the global plastics waste problem and to reduce future environmental impact upon society they researched next generation marine polymer materials. They explored cultural shifts that promote change and influence policy. If clean-up was impossible, they aimed for zero waste design.

The project explored societal needs, trends and mindsets e.g. sustainability, green chemistry, novel applications, recycling and eco-friendly waste management.

At the end of the presentation Niki & Peng addressed questions from Zoom participants including, “Since there are other bioplastics on the market what are the benefits of marine algal (seaweed) bioplastics?”

South Australian marine algae are an environmentally friendly resource for bioplastics as they are;

  • sustainable
  • biodegradable
  • do not compete for arable land which might be better used for growing food crops
  • do not require fresh water to grow
  • are efficient at carbon capture and can combat the effects of climate change

image credit: Niki Sperou 2020

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