Bio-plastic is the future of packaging: Researchers

In the three-day conference organised by the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology in Panjab University, various guests and delegates presented their work in the field of nanotechnology.

Today researchers are more concerned with developing techniques which are more environment-friendly like the development of green products. Similar is the attempt of Luc Avrous professor at the University of Strasbough, France who has researched in nano-composites in developing biobased and biodegradable polymers by plant extraction which is an alternative to synthetic polymers obtained from non-renewable resources.

Luc Avrous said, "Basically we are working on extracting bio-plastic i.e.,the plastic derived from the plants which will be a new plastic. But it has certain drawbacks. So now great attention is being paid to improve the properties of bio-plastic by using of nanofillers. The plastic that we get from this process is environment friendly and can be used for packaging. This technology is also viable for agriculture. The more durable plastic can be used in insulation, roofing, textiles and automotive industry. So once this technology is used it will bring about a revolution."

"A lot of people in the field of nanotechnology and otherwise are interested in development of green products. This is the future. The idea is to replace fossil fuels like petroleum with renewable resources from plants," he added.

The study of Christopher Plummer, a professor from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne(EPFL) Lausanne, Switzerland is similar. He said, "Earlier nanotechnology was only a part of engineering but now that field of research is matured. Bio-based polymers are the next big thing. Bio-plastic developed has high scope in packaging, mostly to replace synthetic plastic with new, biodegradable plastic."

He also spoke about how their technology can be beneficial in India. He said, "In the future, India will take off in the field of nanotechnology as it has huge natural resources like biomass. We have nothing like that in Switzerland. India is going to be an exciting place for sustainable development of plastic nano-components."

Azman Hassan, a professor at Johor Baharu, Malaysia is also working in a similar field. When Newsline spoke to him about future applications of nanotechnology he said, "I am working on improving the Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). It is renewable but very brittle. So by use of certain clays we are studying how to improve the PLA and developing a new plastic which will be able to replace the synthetic plastic when petroleum has been depleted .It will have a huge market once this happens. It will also be used highly in the packaging industry, furniture and automotive industry in the coming years."

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