Flip-flops made from algae

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Algae is used in lots of ways, from food to health supplements to fuel. Now we can add flip-flops to the list. Flip-flops, commonly made from rubber, foam or plastic, are hugely popular all over the world. When people lose theirs on the beach, which happens frequently, the flip-flops are swept into the ocean to join the rest of the plastic pollutants collecting there. 

To solve this problem, new biodegradable "plastics" are being developed using something else found on the beach: algae. A chemistry professor at University of California, San Diego, Mike Burkart, is spearheading a project to make flip-flops out of algae so that, instead of creating pollution, they decompose naturally. Major shoe manufacturers are talking with Burkart about using his material, as are producers of food storage containers and other plastic items. 

Sometimes it might seem like our environmental problems are incurable, and then someone like Burkart comes along and offers a seemingly simple solution. Let's hope it works.

Discussion: 
Summarize the article in 2–3 sentences. Edit Homework
Can you think of any problems that the production of algae-based plastics might cause? Do Homework
Describe a surprising solution to a problem that you have experienced. Do Homework
"Externalities" are a consequence of an industrial or commercial activity which affects other parties and are not reflected in market prices—for example, pollution in the ocean costs the tourism and fishing industry a lot of money, and costs marine animals their lives. How can polluting companies be encouraged to lower their externalities? Do Homework