Plastic from the Wood: Environmentally Friendly Packaging

Thermal properties closely match and sometimes excel those of PET-materials

As fossil fuel supplies dwindle and as consumers increasingly demand environmentally friendly products, various companies have begun to commercialize sustainable or green polymers. The most successful bio-renewable synthetic plastic is poly(lactic acid) (PLA), which can be found in various packaging applications. However, drawbacks to PLA include: a limited functional temperature range; the utilization of a food source for its starting material (corn and other starches); and a reliance on batchwise fermentation technology for feedstock conversion.

Stephen A. Miller and co-workers (University of Florida, Gainesville) now report polyalkylenehydroxybenzoates (PAHBs) derived from lignin, the second most abundant polymer on earth that is a low-value by-product of the paper pulping and cellulosic bio-ethanol industries.

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Keywords: polylactid acid, microorganisms, paper pulping, composting, fermentation


Materials Views, 2011-08-08.


University of Florida