Researchers are looking for a way to use natural waste products to as the building blocks of a new type of polymer that will replace plastics in packaging.
Plastic bottles and cans are found along the Norwegian Arctic shoreline are of foreign origin. As nations begin to address the challenges of climate change, laboratories around the world have been working on possible solutions like making plastic from natural waste. Image: Snemann , CC BY-SA 2.0 , via IFPRI Flicker The good news is that safe plastic is not an impossible dream: novel ways to tackle the tide of discarded material engulfing the planet are under development. One scheme absorbing US chemists will turn natural waste into natural polymers . Some day the crabmeat sandwiches in your packed lunch could be safely wrapped in transparent packaging fashioned from crushed crab shells and discarded wood chippings. The protective wrapping would have all the strength of the polyethylene-based packaging that comes with millions of supermarket products, with one big difference. It will decompose naturally. Polyethylene is the most common form of plastic , with global demand expected to reach almost 100m tonnes in 2018. Plastic polymer compounds are products of the petroleum industry and have changed lives the world over. But because plastic polymersResearchers have already warned that long after humanity becomes extinct, a geological stratum rich in fragmented plastic […]