Degradable and recyclable bioplastic produced from food waste

There are many laboratories in the world that are trying to produce increasingly efficient bioplastics but few of them are trying to use the waste to find the basic “ingredients.”

Producing, for example, economically efficient bioplastics using food waste would, as they say, kill two birds with one stone.

This is precisely what some researchers at the University of Canterbury are trying to do, who have created a new type of catalytic conversion to transform food waste into valuable chemical components that can then be used to produce bioplastics.

In collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic, Alex Yip is planning a new catalyst to achieve precisely this goal and the result he has achieved, at least for now, has been to demonstrate that the concept is feasible.

Specifically, the researcher, together with his team, succeeded in extracting three key chemical components, including polylactic acid and 5-HMF, an organic compound, which allows the creation of sustainable bioplastics with various properties similar to plastic.

This new bioplastic would be 100% recyclable or completely biodegradable. It could be used mainly for packaging and food containers.