Researcher Veronika Bátori at the western Swedish university has made bioplastics using waste from apples and oranges, as part of her doctoral thesis.
Bátori has done this using two methods. The first is by turning the waste into a liquid that dries into a thin film, which could be used as food packaging or to create rubbish bags as an alternative to using standard plastic for these purposes.
The second method uses 3D-printing to create products from the waste. According to the researcher, the processes are “simple”, and the waste products from the two fruits behave slightly differently and can even be combined.
There are still some problems with the materials, which dissolve in water for example, meaning they can’t currently be used to create environmentally-friendly disposable cups or mugs. But the researcher is still hopeful that products using her methods could be available to the public within ten years.
“I would love to find a company that can help me develop the products, but right now there are no plans for a second step,” she told the TT newswire.
Research into materials that can replace plastic in disposable packaging has been going on for many years, but Bátori said that the unique aspect of her work was using food waste.
“There are a lot of discussions about food, fuel, food production and cultivated land, and from that perspective I believe the future lies in bio-products made from waste,” she said.
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