Better living through green chemistry: Packaging - polyethylene terephthalate
Sarah EvertsWe is very clear that this is a waste and unnecessary, but somehow the number of plastic packages that wrap our purchases has been growing.
Derived from fossils
After millions of years of accumulated fuel sources, the service life of these materials can be as short as a few hours.
Several companies are now selling alternative plastics for renewable energy.
NatureWorks of Minnetonka, Minnesota is owned by Cargill, a Food and Agriculture Group, which makes food containers with a polymer called Ingeo, which comes from corn starch.
Bacteria convert starch into resin, a replacement for pet (PET)
, Strong and hard plastic currently used in containers such as water bottles and yogurt cans.
In the future, Ingeo's raw materials may not come from fresh corn, but from agricultural waste, the company said.
Metabolix, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is taking a different approach.
Through genetically engineered plants, such as tobacco, willow switch, and sugar cane, it hopes to be able to harvest available plastic polymers known as polyhydrogen ester, which are synthesized in cells of plant leaves and stems.
Among the nearly billion tons of plastic produced and disposed of each year around the world, biological plastics still do not account for it.
But the market is growing rapidly.
Last year, the bio-plastics board of industrial institutions predicted that production of bio-plastics would double by 2012.
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Live better through green chemistry