Plant-based plastic: The scientific development that could change the world

A new plastic from organic plant waste has been created by scientists in Switzerland and could change everything.

Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has developed a new kind of plastic that will be cheaper and significantly better for the planet.

The new material’s use is endless. Be it packaging and textiles to medicine and electronics. Its use could be stretched to whatever is preferred. Given plastic’s environmental impact, this new development is a giant step forward.

New plastic. Credit: SWNS

In Switzerland, the researchers have already used the technique to make packaging films, fibres that can be spun into clothes or other textiles and filaments for 3D printing.

In making the new material, scientists ‘cook’ wood and other non-edible plant materials in inexpensive chemicals to make a precursor. The sugar structure then stays intact within the structure of the plastic, making the chemistry vastly cheaper than other types of alternative plastic.

Jeremy Luterbacher from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, who created the new material, said to Good News Network: “What makes the plastic unique is the presence of the intact sugar structure.”

Luterbacher continued: “This makes it incredibly easy to make because you don’t have to modify what nature gives you, and it is simple to degrade because it can go back to a molecule that is already abundant in nature.”

It’s with this new advancement that they could convert up to a quarter of the weight of agricultural waste, or 95% of purified sugar into plastic.

Despite the environmental damage, plastic and its ease in making have largely been the reasons why it’s continuing to be manufactured. As said by the researchers, the low cost, heat stability, mechanical strength, process-ability, and compatibility see’s it being used daily.

However, these new developments in science and research are changing the game.

Luterbacher said: “The plastic has very exciting properties, notably for applications like food packaging.” 

As said by the creator himself, using what’s abundant in nature or giving it back without harming our surroundings, is what is so beneficial in this new creation. Surely, the plastic that surrounds us will finally be recycled correctly.