I've Got One Word For You, Benjamin
And hey, what do you know? It looks like they are as much the future today as they were 45 years ago. Only now we're talking about plastics grown from algae that cut the petroleum requirement by as much as 50%. And then there's digestible plastics integrated with edible materials to create a whole new kind of disposable packaging -- food packaging that we dispose of by eating it!
Doesn't it seems like we've been hearing about edible packaging since roughly the same time The Graduate came out? But now perhaps the technology is catching up with the dream. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, but there is something awfully appealing about packaging that doesn't end up in a land fill or recycle center. (Granted, we probably don't want to spend too much time talking about where it does in fact end up.)
Plastic derived from algae is another exciting development. Algae is proving to be one of our greatest potential hedges against peak oil, first by providing a potential substitute for petroleum as fuel and now by reducing the amount of petroleum required for other applications. Not bad at all for stinky pond scum!