Scientists turn animal waste into ‘bio-plastic’

May 27th, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 27 (IANS) A new process developed by scientists converts low grade animal waste like feathers into plastic products that are bio-degradable. The “bio-plastic”, as it is being called, would be suitable for agricultural plastic sheeting, seedling trays, plant pots and even biodegradable golf tees, ScienceAlert reported.

“The material we can produce has the strength of polyethylene - the plastic used in milk bottles and plastic supermarket bags - but it’s fully biodegradable,” said Johan Verbeek of the University of Waikato, the brains behind the product, along with colleague Lisa van den Berg.

Verbeek noted that plant proteins have been used to make bio-plastics, but there has been little success with animal protein. “People said it couldn’t be done, but we did it,” he said.

A group of design students are currently in the process of drawing up a blueprint for a commercial-scale plant to assess the viability of producing bio-plastics from animal protein waste.

University of Waikato vice chancellor Roy Crawford said farmers faced pressure to work in an environmentally sustainable way, and this type of innovation from the university could help them.

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