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Organic-plastic company gets $15 million

Organic plastic? Fantastic, say investors in Minneapolis-based Segeits.

Why make a shampoo bottle out of petroleum products when it can be formed out of agricultural-waste products? That's the premise behind Segetis, which today said it has raised $15 million.

The Minneapolis-based Segetis is one of a number of outfits trying to displace petroleum in household products like countertops, bottles and other items. Using organic matter cuts down on pollutants in the manufacturing process and makes recycling far more feasible.

Organic plastics have historically cost more than their petroleum counterparts, but the rising price of oil, coupled with other factors, is making organics more palatable.

Other companies in the field include Cereplast (plastic forks and paper cup liners) and Archer Daniels Midland.

Segetis says its basic chemical blocks could also be used in the production of biodiesel and other products.

The company was founded by Sergey Selifonov, who has worked for start-ups in Silicon Valley and has also conducted research at the Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, a division of the Russian Academy of Science.

Investors in the company include Khosla Ventures, which has been putting money into a wide range of green start-ups. Recently, for instance, the firm has placed a number of investments in companies specializing in developing microorganisms for converting vegetable matter into biodiesel and other products.

You can imagine all of these companies cooperating to some degree someday.