Newlight Technologies located in Huntington Beach, Calif. is working to create an alternative for plastic that is biodegradable and better for the environment.
This new substitution, called AirCarbon, is created by microorganisms in the ocean that eat carbon dioxide and methane. These are then transformed into polyhydroxybutyrate, or PHB, which can then be molded and shaped just like plastic.
According to Newlight, by the year 2050 there will be less fish in the ocean than plastic. This is because plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose, some plastics longer than others. These materials do not occur naturally in nature, so there is nothing that is able to break down the plastic. This led to the idea of using something that already exists in nature for a plastic replacement.
Other products besides plastic are made with AirCarbon. It has made its way into the fashion industry, with Covalent, a fashion brand made by Newlight. They construct sunglasses, wallets, purses and other things. Each item has its own Carbon Date, which is the time when carbon and air were made into AirCarbon.
Another store Newlight owns is Restore. They make things such as knives, spoons, forks and many different types of straws. These products can be used in hot or cold foods. They are also dishwasher safe and are made in the USA.
The only problem Newlight faces is keeping up with production of products quick enough to keep the prices low. Prices range anywhere between $6.99 for their cutlery, to $520 for their tote handbag.
As of now, Newlight only has one facility where production happens. This one building makes enough AirCarbon products to recycle 100 million pounds of carbon every year. The company hopes to open more locations in the future.