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Non-Tech : Metabolix [MBLX] a Full Disclosure Thread

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From: Sam Citron5/8/2007 12:06:42 PM
   of 78
PACKAGING:Shrink-wrapped packages are the neighbor-friendly way to store trash until it can be processed.
PACKAGING:Shrink-wrapped packages are the neighbor-friendly way to store trash until it can be processed.
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March 8, 2007 -- Garbage was never sweeter - at least for investors.

Hitting the market are new garbage bags spun from sugar that actually dissolve cleanly under the ground.

The bags - resulting from a race among the world's five biggest agricultural giants - are just one of the commercial breakthroughs hitting Wall Street's pavement that's suddenly padded with new billions in investment cash.

The first out of the gate is a public company to build its factory for dissolvable bags and packaging made from sugars is Metabolix, bankrolled by No. 1 agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland.

In its first four months, it's up 32 percent and resisted last week's market rout.

Even New York City's in the gold rush, and expects to build a showcase processing plant that cleanly converts throwaway plastics and smelly trash into free electricity for all five boroughs - hoping to prevent summer blackouts while getting rid of garbage for just pennies.

It's written into new city sanitation laws, and outlined in a City Hall blueprint for adopting alternative technologies, due later this month from the Economic Development Corporation, said Councilman Michael McMahon, chairman of the council's sanitation committee.

While several years away, the new trash-to-energy pilot plant would likely be installed in a sprawling industrial stretch in Jersey City in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty. The city already uses a giant factory there of Hugo Neu Sims to recycle all its plastic, metal and glass, said McMahon.

Technologies to convert the garbage range from giant laser "plasma guns" that reduce it to harmless steam and a few elements, and gasification technology to run generators cleanly. Incineration isn't used in such plants.

Meanwhile, the problem of the stench of garbage piles waiting to be zapped into clean renewable energy is making other investors rich.

Former Wall Street investment banker David Stoller launched TransLoad America four years ago with a novel solution to the stink: big portable rigs and on-site factories that compress and shrink-wrap garbage into tidy Volkswagen-sized pods.

It cuts about 20 percent from costs of conventional trash handing for export because no mess is left behind.

"This solves the old problem of not-in-my-backyard because it has no smell at all, or any kind of leakage, and can be stored in large supply for years as feed stock to continually run a trash-to-energy facility," said Stoller.

TransLoad, based in Newark, has been in talks with officials in New York City and Los Angeles, the two largest trash exporters, about shrink-wrapping municipal trash for eventual use as a renewal energy source.

"In three or four years, all the plants popping up for natural and biodegradable plastics will be up and running, and that's when regulators will start to move in and make their use required by law," said biotech analyst Laurence Alexander of Jefferies & Co.

He sees growth of 20 percent a year for biodegradable plastics.

Driving the natural plastics revolution is the four-fold hike in the price of crude oil, which is used in the bulk of plastics here. Substitutes have been around for years but unheeded.

Even Henry Ford developed a process in 1941 to build his first "plastic car" using soybean by-products and chemical stiffeners. It never caught on, nor did the wonders of biodegradable plastic that was perfected four decades ago.
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