HOPE: Study shows potential for Earth-friendly plastic replacement

Photo © Squirrel photos via Pixabay

The quest to keep plastic out of landfills and oceans, and simultaneously satisfy the needs of the food industry is filled with obstacles.

A biodegradable replacement for petroleum-based products has to meet all sorts of standards and, so far, attempts at viable replacements from renewable sources have faced limited success due to processing and economic constraints. Among the obstacles, products to date have been too brittle for food packaging.

But new research from The Ohio State University has shown that combining natural rubber with bioplastic in a novel way results in a much stronger replacement for plastic, one that is already capturing the interest of companies looking to shrink their environmental footprints.

Almost all plastics – about 90 percent – are petroleum-based and are not biodegradable, a major environmental concern.

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© Ohio State University / crane.11@osu.edu