“Much of my work has been dedicated to finding sustainable ways to make and break down plastics. My lab and others are making progress on both fronts. But these new alternatives have to compete with synthetic plastics that have established infrastructures and optimized processes. Without supportive government policies, innovative plastic alternatives will have trouble crossing the so-called “valley of death” from the lab to the market. . . .
“As modern plastics have many types and uses, multiple strategies are needed to replace them or make them more sustainable. One goal is making polymers from bio-based carbon sources instead of oil. The most readily implementable option is converting carbon from plant cell walls (lignocellulosics) into monomers (PDF).
“As an example, my lab has developed a yeast catalyst that takes plant-derived oils an converts them to a polyester that has properties similar to polyethylene. But unlike a petroleum-based plastic, it can be fully degraded by microorganisms in composting systems.”
FULL STORY published August 22, 2018 via GreenBiz.com