London, July 24 IANS | 5 months ago

Your next grocery bag can come from vegetable waste products.

Scientists have developed an eco-friendly and efficient new bioplastic using rice hulls, cocoa pod husk, spinach and parsley stems as raw material.

"These are the food parts people do not want to eat. These could easily be converted into useful bioplastics with different properties like rubbery for spinach, but firmer for rice hulls," said Ilker Bayer from Italian Institute of Technology in Genova, Italy.

Currently, making bioplastics takes multiple steps, requiring more energy and often uses crops that could otherwise be used for food, like corn or potatoes.

In the new method, Bayer and his colleagues dissolved cellulose from cotton and hemp and converted it directly to a form suitable for moulding to plastic without further processing.

The new material can also inherit the properties of the original plant, like parsley plastic could have antioxidant properties or cinnamon plastic could be antibacterial.

"The bioplastics have really good properties," Izabela Radecka from University of Wolverhampton in the UK, was quoted as saying in a New Scientist report.

(Posted on 24-07-2014)

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