Can we make “green” plastics?

August 13, 2019—From cars to computers, toys to tableware,plastics are pervasive in our daily lives. Most are derived from fossil fuels. To reduce our nation’s dependence on petroleum-based products, the University of Minnesota has been awarded a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help develop the next generation of environmentally friendly plastics, which would break down more quickly and safely than petroleum-based plastics. The research will be conducted at the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers, based at the U, with funding also supporting a public-awareness campaign about plastic’s negative impact on the environment.

While plastic’s usefulness has ensured it isn’t going away anytime soon, the researchers’ goal is to convert plant-based materials into plastic alternatives. Non-toxic and biodegradable, yet just as durable and high-performing as conventional plastics, they could move us closer to a more sustainable future.

Image: Photo by John Beumer, University of Minnesota

Source: “University of Minnesota receives $20M grant for sustainable plastics research,” University of Minnesota News, August 13, 2019