The future of plastic packaging lies in vegetable sugar

Although plastics that can be obtained from plants are not biodegradable, so far their properties are more sustainable for the environment. In addition, they have a longer service life.

According to research developed by the Faculty of Chemistry of the Portuguese University of Aveiro, the future of manufacturing plastic containers It is found in polymers that are extracted from the sugars of plants, especially some such as corn.

According to Andrea Sousa, a researcher at the studio, which developed the project together with scientist Catarina Araújo, this type of plastic, obtained through polymers called polyethylene furanoate (PEF) compared to PET, which is extracted from petroleum products, has a special use in bottles .

One example of plants that could be used to make PEF plastic is corn. Its industrial production process is more ecological than oil because much less energy is used for its production, the researcher added.

Sousa explained that although it is not biodegradable, it retains its properties longer than petroleum-derived plastics, and even improves them in some aspects: “Plastic containers that can be made from plant sugars are much “more useful for preserving water and any kind food.”

According to the researchers, it is a challenge to obtain biodegradable plastic from plants, since the attempts registered so far have resulted in packaging whose properties are not very resistant to heat.


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