R&D and Innovations

Sweden Converts Sewage into Bioplastics

Sweden develops new sustainable plastic based on indole, a substance produced by several bacteria and known for its heavy faecal stench, the new bio-polyester is completely odourless.

A scientific group led by Baozhong Zhang, associate professor at Lund University’s Centre for Analysis and Synthesis, has developed a “green” bio-polyester more durable than ordinary plastic and better suitable for recycling.

The Indolepolyester is claimed to be superior to both PET and PEF in many ways. Unlike PET and PEF, which decompose at 70 to 86 degrees Celsius indole plastic can withstand a temperature of 99 degrees and allows for endless recycling.

Associate professor Baozhong Zhang said

“What we have seen is that indole has better mechanical properties that make it more durable. This can lead to better recycling in the future. At present, PET bottles can only be recycled once, then they must be used for other things, such as textiles”.

Indole is present in faeces and can be made from amino acids and plants. Indole is produced on a small scale and used in perfume and pharmaceuticals. Mass production from sugar by fermentation using bacteria is possible.

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