Feed Your Garden with Your Disposable Plastic Trash

While recycling your disposable plastic trash is always a good idea, you may soon be able to compost it with your organic waste. A team of Engineering and Research Council scientists led by Dr. Charlotte Williams recently developed new polymer-based packaging that degrades harmlessly to feed your garden.

A Low Energy, Low Water Use Process

The new plastics use a degradable polymer made of oxygen-rich sugars (known as lignocellulosic biomass) from fast-growing trees and grasses or the renewable biomass from agricultural or food waste. The leading bio-renewable plastic, polylactide, requires a high-energy process that also consumes lots of water. To recycle these plastics, the polylactide they contain must be degraded in a high-temperature industrial facility. The technical challenge was to prove that the new plastic could be manufactured in large volumes. It took Williams’ team nearly three-and-a-half years to reach a yield of 80 percent in a low energy, low water use process.

A Plastic that Degrades Safely — Even in the Human Body

Since the new polymer is made from cheap materials or waste products, it offers several advantages over current petrochemical-based plastics. Being easily degradable, it has medical uses, including tissue regeneration, stitches and drug delivery. The non-toxic polymer simply decomposes in the human body, leaving only harmless by-products. The material is being considered as artificial scaffolds for tissue regeneration, and as a method for “time-releasing” drugs in the body.

Reducing the 150 Million Tons of Plastic Produced Every Year

The new packaging solves many of today’s pressing environmental and economic problems. Currently, about seven percent of the world’s oil and gas resources are used to manufacture plastics—99 percent of these are formed from fossil fuels. In fact, the world currently produces a staggering 150 million tons of plastic annually.

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Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe2 years ago

There is so much plastic that we can't recycle. It would be a great idea, - if it doesn't harm our bodies!

Jayasri Amma
Jayasri Amma3 years ago

Thank you!

Deb L.
Deb L3 years ago


Barb Hansen
Ba H3 years ago

not a good post, people may start throwing plastics in their gardens not understanding what type they have

Sara Sezun
Sara S3 years ago

It sounds like a good intention, but I'm skeptical about its safety. I don't want plastic in my body.

Erin H.
Erin H3 years ago

Interesting article, thank you!

Briony C.
Briony C3 years ago

I like this kind of plastic.

Shirley E.
Shirley E3 years ago

Sounds like a fantastic invention, but be ready for the unexpected backlash. Nature invariably has one to keep our collective brainwaves in check!

Kerstin Strobl
Kerstin S3 years ago

thank you for sharing

Leia P.
Leia P.3 years ago