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Biodegradable Plastics Growing in Usage as More People Conscious of Environment

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Published on : Mar 15, 2016

The world has had a massive influx of plastic trash over the past few decades. The biggest problem with plastic is that it does not decompose, or takes several decades to decompose. Till then, it can just sit there in the waste. Or it could even enter various life cycles and cause damage to living things. Animals eating plastic bags which damage their internal organs is one of the most common things occurring in the animal kingdom, and this problem holds true especially for livestock. A growing number of people are finally paying attention to the problem that plastic is causing to the environment, creating the need for something just as reliable but still vulnerable to bacteria. This gave scientists the idea to create biodegradable plastic, which earlier was not as strong as conventional plastic, but did not pose a threat to the ecosystem.

Polycaprolactone, the New Wonder Polymer
One of the more modern inventions in the market for biodegradable polymers is polycaprolactone. It is stable, strong, easy to manufacture, completely biodegradable, and considered for use in a vast number of applications. One of the more fun applications of polycaprolactone comes from 3D printing and designing. Due to its non-toxic nature, polycaprolactone can be used by children in arts and crafts. The polymer can be easily used in 3D printing to create plastic products that will not last forever or harm the environment. Another major application of polycaprolactone comes in medical devices. Polycaprolactone can impart excellent properties to polyurethane, making it tougher, stronger, and more resistant, creating the perfect candidate for biodegradable medical devices.

Bacteria that can Eat Plastic and Garbage
Another discovery that happened recently could become one of the greater solutions to the growing problem of waste management. PET, a commonly used type of plastic, is known to be almost impervious to natural breakdown, making it a major enemy of environment protection bodies. According to the WEF, only 14.0% of the global plastic production is actually recycled. The rest, which is 86.0% of 342 mn tons, is merely thrown as waste. Scientists have recently discovered a microbe which is capable of breaking down this plastic into harmless byproducts. If found feasible for large-scale use, this could potentially provide major relief to the global waste management market.