PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A new Portland-based start-up has developed a bio-degradable plastic that easily dissolves in water, and is working on getting the product on store shelves.
The fledgling company, AlgoTeK, produces plastic of varying strength and thickness from brown algae harvested from the ocean.
The company's founders, David Crinnion, Tanner Stickling, and Justin Lebuhn, met as undergrads at the University of Oregon, and forged their ideas about algae at a sustainable invention conference about a year ago.
"We're trying to tackle the single-use plastic problem," Crinnion said, who envisions the bioplastics used to replace packaging for electronics.
AlgoteK is in negotiations with an Oregon company that can mass produce its alternative plastics, and has had discussions with other companies about using their material to replace plastic applicators in feminine hygiene products, and plastic rings that keep beverages together in six-packs.
"Materials like this are already being used," Crinnion said. "It's already in production. We're not inventing a new way to package something. We're just making it out of something new."
At least two other companies around the world are working on developing algae-based plastics, so the Portland start-up has competition, but its founders think they've already found practical ways to get their product to market, and are hoping to do so by the start of the new year.
Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.