Today: Friday, 5 June 2020 year

Science: Water-resistant biodegradable plant-based plastic

Science: Water-resistant biodegradable plant-based plastic

Plastic could be not only biodegradable but water-resistant, a group of researchers at Japan’s Osaka University have proven. The Japanese plant-based plastic is stronger than other plastics, Springwise reports.

The Japanese researchers led by Associate Professor Taka-Aki Asoh have developed a process that can improve the water-resistance and strength of the composite so that it could be used in the same way as petroleum-based plastics.

By using low-cost, plant-based materials, the cost of Japanese plastic is kept low. As the inventors stressed, their plastic is ecological, emitting fewer greenhouse gases. In fact, no petroleum products are used for making such an innovative substance.

While sea life in our oceans is choking on plastic, the new water-resistant and biodegradable plastic is what we all need. As the statistics reports, there are now said to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of the ocean – and the total is increasing by around 8 million pieces of plastic every day.

Despite the really great characteristics of new plastic, researchers have pointed out that these are expensive, poor quality and can only be manufactured in small amounts. However, an alternative type of plastic was developed from cellulose nanofibers and starch, both of which were extracted from plants.

Associate Professor Taka-Aki Asoh emphasised the expectation that the new plastic will help reduce marine pollution, saying: “Since we were able to develop a marine biodegradable plastic sheet by combining familiar materials such as starch and cellulose, because these materials are cheap, and the manufacturing process is simple, we can expect that the developed material will be put to practical use soon.”

The biodegradable plastic developed in Osaka is a double win for people and planet. In fact, plastic is cheap to produce and can be manufactured in large amounts, possibly making an excellent option for replacing petroleum-based plastics.