And why not make packaging from natural resources such as starch, glycerin or even sugar? This is the subject of research carried out at the Institute of Chemical Sciences in Rennes (ISCR), in partnership with manufacturers.
“We design biodegradable polymers from renewable resources. It is an alternative to plastics from petrochemicals, ”explains Sophie Guillaume , CNRS research director at ISCR.
The chemist studies polyhydroxyalkanoates, whose pronounceable name is “PHA“. These polymers exist in their natural state and are produced by bacteria.
They are synthesized in his laboratory to improve their properties. “We control the sequence of” bricks “that make up the polymer, in order to modify their thermal properties. We can then more easily shape this material. ”
These plastics made from renewable materials are biodegradable in six months in water. This innovation is one of the solutions to help reduce plastic pollution in the ocean. The aim of this research is also to be able to write a message in polymer : it is a unique chemical signature, which responds to the demand of manufacturers.
The market for these eco-responsible plastics is anecdotal at the moment. “Some factories in the United States, Italy and Japan produce PHAs,” continues Sophie Guillaume. Volumes are low, but demand is rising sharply and the market could grow by 25% by 2023. PHA is used to replace polyolefins, petroleum derivatives, in food packaging.
More and more manufacturers are interested in it. ”
Published on espace-sciences.org
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