Today’s Solutions: July 25, 2024

While banning plastics is an important measure for curbing pollution, replacing plastics as a practical consumer material is important. 

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne have developed a plant-based alternative for plastics that decompose into sugar. 

“The plastic has very exciting properties, notably for applications like food packaging,” research leader professor Jeremy Luterbacher at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences said in a press release.

Researchers have been struggling to find an alternative to plastic with the same versatility and durability. Plastic’s low cost and ease of production also make it hard to replace. The Swiss team, though, thinks they have found a comparable alternative in their “new plastic” which is made from non-edible plant material and is similar in quality to the plastic used in water bottles. 

“We essentially just ‘cook’ wood or other non-edible plant material, such as agricultural wastes, in inexpensive chemicals to produce the plastic precursor in one step,” said Luterbacher.

The material is made with a method developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology which alters lignin, a polymer found in biofuels, and converts it into a potential source for bio-based plastics and fuels. The team also found they were able to convert the material back into sugars. They have been able to use the material in packaging, textile fibers, and 3D-printing filaments

“Although standardized biodegradation studies still need to be performed, the inherently degradable nature of these materials facilitated their chemical recycling via methanolysis at 64 °C, and eventual depolymerization in room-temperature water,” the authors wrote in the study. 

Source Study: Nature Chemistry — Sustainable polyesters via direct functionalization of lignocellulosic sugars | Nature Chemistry

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Ecuador’s historic court ruling grants Quito’s Machángara river t...

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM On July 7th, an Ecuadorian court ruled that pollution violates the rights of the Machángara River, which flows ...

Read More

Don’t feed bread to ducks! Here’s what to serve instead

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM When venturing out into the Great Outdoors, it’s important never to feed the wildlife because they can become ...

Read More

These bladeless wind turbines could revolutionize the renewable sector

Bladeless wind turbines may sound counterintuitive, but a new startup aims to prove that these devices could reinvent the way we harness wind power ...

Read More

Revel at the most detailed image of our universe yet

Here at The Optimist Daily, we have been sharing every exciting step of the James Webb Telescope’s journey, from its long-awaited launch, to when ...

Read More