18 August 2004

Australia: Biodegradable bags made from animal waste

Scientists at the Environmental Biotechnology Co-Operative Research Centre in Sydney have developed green biodegradable plastic bags made from animal excreta or food waste that could soon could replace traditional plastic at supermarkets.

The company’s executive director, David Garman said that companies had long used high-value virgin products such as starch and sugar to produce naturally occurring plastic-like substances, called biopolymers, to make plastic bags.

“The breakthrough we’ve had was the while looking to control phosphorous in bioreactors, we found a whole group of organisms that thrive on this material in these waste reactors, whether it’s sewerage or processing waste products from agriculture,” The Age quoted him as saying.

“We found out that one of the key ingredients that was being added by the operator suddenly completely changed the dynamics of the bacteria in the reactor, and that gave us the clue. Basically we end up with the same sorts of bacteria, the same sorts of material, which can then be quite readily translated into biodegradable plastics,” he added.

Garman said the bags were as strong, clean and cheap as the non-biodegradable alternative and that such recycling technology was the way of the future.

Source: news.kerala.com, Aug 13, 2004.

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