Scientists Created a Plastic from Barley that is Completely Biodegradable

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have created a new type of biodegradable plastic from barley starch and sugar beet waste as the primary ingredients.

This environmentally sustainable material can be composted in nature, potentially reducing plastic pollution and minimizing the environmental footmark of plastic manufacturing.

According to a report from Professor Andreas Blennow at the University of Copenhagen, further perception has been provided on this issue. It has been stated that recycling alone appears insufficient in addressing the huge challenge of plastic waste.

Consequently, a group of researchers has come up with a novel bioplastic that better-existing alternatives in terms of strength and water resistance. Additionally, Professor Blennow assures individuals that this new material is entirely biodegradable and can effortlessly be transformed into compost.

Barley, wheat, potatoes, and corn are among the crops that contain amylose, a common ingredient found in plants. Cellulose, on the other hand, is derived from local industry sugar waste.

The researchers have partnered with two Danish packaging companies to create prototypes, including trays, bottles, and bags, all made entirely from barley. These products, which are 100% biodegradable, will soon be available in the market.

Plastic from Barley, Biodegradable Packaging

Nanocellulose, derived from sugar industry waste, is a type of cellulose, a carbohydrate present in all plants. It is utilized in the production of cotton, linen, wood, and paper products. The remarkable strength of this material is attributed to its tiny fibers.

Even though the researchers have only created prototypes in the laboratory thus far, Blennow is confident that mass production could commence soon. The infrastructure for producing amylose-rich starch already exists, with millions of tons being manufactured annually for the food industry.

Currently, the researchers are engaged in the process of filing a patent application and partnering with Danish packaging companies to create prototypes for food packaging and various applications, including car interior trims. Blennow expects that this innovative material could potentially be brought to life within a timeframe of one to five years.


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