IN THE near future, plastic won't be an environmental pejorative. The Japan Corn Starch Co Ltd, in collaboration with US business firm Grand River Technologies of Michigan, will produce a fully biodegradable plastic from corn starch that decomposes readily and can be used as compost for the corn crop (New Technology Japan, Vol 21, No 9).
Scientists from the two companies claim that unlike plastics produced from petrochemicals, the new plastic decomposes completely into carbon dioxide and water when stored in a compost bin for about four weeks. It will soon be produced commercially in the US for use as packets, disposable cups and drinking bottles.
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