Guwahati: For the first time, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati scientists have developed biodegradable plastic with homegrown technology.
The biodegradable plastic has been developed by the Institute's department of Centre of Excellence Sustainable Polymers (CoE-SusPol) and funded by department of chemicals and petrochemicals under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. The centre has used this plastic variant for making kitchen cutlery, household furniture and decorative items such as flower pots and toys.
It has been informed by the Coordinator and Principal Investigator of CoE-SusPol, Vimal Katiyar that the team has been able to prepare the products at a lower costs with home-grown technology when compared to the US which is the major producer of biodegradable plastic. "The product has passed the hot-beverage text as it has no hazardous chemicals. The product will also help to increase soil fertility as it is non-polluting. The product comes from a bio-based which is environment-friendly and is safe," said Katiyar.
A Gujrat based private company has supported the project to begin as a commercial production.
Katiyar further informed that when this kind of biodegradable plastic is thrown in the garbage dump, it will degrade automatically and will get absorbed in the soil and the plastic will help to increase the soil fertility.
The IIT, Guwahati has been producing 7-8 kgs of biodegradable plastic till now and this 100 tonne per year capacity design project will go on till September, 2019. Katiyar further said that if the pilot project is completed successfully commercial production might begin.
As plastics are the most commonly used materials in today's date due to low cost, light weight, easy processability, CoE-SusPol will be exploring a large number of alternatives including bio-based plastics. It is to be mentioned that currently, packaging sector accounts for over 40 percent of the total worldwide plastic consumption which are used in commodity, engineering and medical applications.
Significant efforts have been made to produce biodegradable plastic materials with similar functionalities as their conventional counterparts.
The Centre will also develop novel and indigenous technology for commercialization of versatile synthetic biodegradable polymers such as poly (lactic acid), poly (e-caprolactone, PHB, polybutylene succinate, poly (glycolic acid) and possible copolymers.
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