(CNN) Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed flip flops made from algae-based, polyurethane materials to help fight plastic pollution around the world. The team, which works at the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, used chemistry and biology to turn algae into renewable polymers that can be used to create a wide range of biodegradable products. Millions of discarded flip flops pose a hazard to ocean life One of the first products is a pair of flip flops, which the researchers hope will draw attention to widespread plastic pollution in the world’s water supply. As "the world’s most popular shoe," plastic flip flops account for a significant portion of that pollution, Mike Burkart told CNN. "It has become obvious that the world has a major plastic problem polluting the planet, now more than ever," said Burkart, a biochemistry professor at the university who helped develop the sandals. "We need to change our habits and take on the personal responsibility to use less plastic in our lives," he said. "But plastic is very useful material all around us, so we need to get to the point where when someone’s buying a product, they insist it’s biodegradable." Flip […]

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