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Source: ISTOCK

New Bioplastic-Rubber Blended Material Could Be the Plastic Packaging Alternative the Earth Needs

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Researchers from The Ohio State University have developed a biodegradable alternative to plastic food packaging — and if the new material takes off, it could help reduce plastic consumption all over the world. The material is a blend of natural rubber and bioplastic, which the researchers believe is an eco-friendly, physically strong, and affordable substitute to plastic packaging.


As explained in a report in the journal Polymers, the new material is a natural-rubber-toughened poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate), known as PHBV/NR. The study was led by the university's Xiaoying Zhao, Katrina Cornish, and Yael Vodovotz. As Vodovotz tells Green Matters in an email, the new material is incredibly diverse in application, and it can be used to replace various kinds of plastic, ranging from soft (such as candy wrappers) to hard (such as containers). "We have worked on films and trays and other applications. It all depends on formulation of the blend and processing," she tells us.