Animal waste gets chance to become biodegradable plastic

>> Monday, 2 June 2008

For full story please visit University of Waikato web site. There will be no comment this time.

The new process, developed over two years by University of Waikato chemical engineer Dr Johan Verbeek and Masters student Lisa van den Berg, can turn animal protein waste like blood meal and feathers into a biodegradable plastic using industry-standard plastic extrusion and injection moulding machinery.

A process developed at the University of Waikato will allow animal waste to be turned into useful and biodegradable plastic.

"Proteins are polymers so we know they can be turned into plastics," Dr Verbeek said. "Plant proteins successfully been used to make bioplastics, but animal protein has always ended up gumming up the extruder. The process we've developed gets round that problem. People said it couldn't be done, but we did it!"

It's a source of plastic that doesn't rely on petroleum, so we also see it potentially being blended with conventional plastics to reduce the total petroleum load.

Plastic Fantastic - University of Waikato scientist Dr Johan Verbeek says the bioplastic created from animal protein waste can be used for plastic sheeting.

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