Scientists have created a new formulation of biodegradable plastic from plant materials.

Scientists of Vyatka State University (VyatSU) together with colleagues from the Institute of Chemical Physics named after V.I. N.N. Semenov Russian Academy of Sciences have developed a formulation of biodegradable plastic, which contains not only plant components, but also polylactic acid (PLA): one of the most promising biopolymers used in industry, scientists believe.

Currently, there are no materials based on pure, individual substances. Almost everywhere there are compositions – mixtures of two or three or more components, where each ingredient plays its role, providing certain properties. For example, strength, color, low cost. Our polymer field is no exception, and blends are often used here. Not always all the necessary components get along in one recipe, in one composition. We solved this problem of combining dissimilar polymers by introducing a special additive.

Andrey Burkov, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Polymer Processing Technology, Vyatka State University
The authors explain that during the process, the desired components are released from the plant biomass and then mixed. The final product is entirely of vegetable origin, it quickly decomposes into harmless substances, in contrast to traditional plastic, which includes petroleum products.

The new bioplastic can only be decomposed under special conditions, for example in compost pits.

However, biodegradable material is much better and easier to recycle than classic plastic, because the production uses renewable plant, non-toxic raw materials.