Plastics to dust: easy-to-compost plastic bags move closer to mainstream
US based cycleWood Solutions have developed biodegradable plastic bags using lignin, a natural polymer that helps form the cell walls of plants. The bags can be composted just like any other plant-based material and will biodegrade in 180 days.
The process is speeded by the structure of the polymer, the composting process, and the addition of another biodegradable polymer with the lignin. “Lignin gives the plastic the needed strength,” said chief scientific officer Wolfgang Glasser.
The company has produced single-use plastic bags, trash can liners, and meat bags, and is testing cups and plates. “The compostability was tested by a commercial lab in Belgium, and the bags meet the requirements of disintegrating to particles less than two millimetres in size in 180 days,” said Glasser.
Patent applications have been filed on the chemistry and technology that deals with lignin modification and preparation of derivatives.
Image credit: Virginia Tech