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Scientists unveil process that makes biodegradable plastics truly compostable

Scientists at the university of berkeley have unveiled a new process that makes biodegradable plastics truly compostable. advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution nightmare we’re facing, these compostable plastic bags, utensils and cup lids among others don’t break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics. Sadly, most of these compostable plastics end up in landfills and remain there as long as normal plastics.

‘People are now prepared to move into biodegradable polymers for single-use plastics, but if it turns out that it creates more problems than it’s worth, then the policy might revert back,’said ting xu, UC berkeley professor of materials science and engineering and of chemistry.‘we are basically saying that we are on the right track. we can solve this continuing problem of single-use plastics not being biodegradable.’

To tackle this problem, scientists at university of california, berkeley, have invented a way to break down these compostable plastics with just heat and water in just a few weeks. the process involves adding polyester-eating enzymes to the plastic while it’s being made. for the enzymes to be protected from untangling and becoming useless, it features a simple polymer wrapping. once exposed to heat and water, the enzymes gets rid of the polymer shroud and starts chomping the plastic polymer into its building blocks. basically, the process allows the polymer plastic to self-destruct.

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