Plastic from rapeseed

Published: Saturday 31 December 1994

British scientists at the Zeneca a multinational seed company, claim that they are on the verge of developing a "natural biodegradable plastic" from rapeseed (canola) oil. Tony Fentem, the project manager, said smallscale trials will begin next year and he is "very confident" of succeeding.

The company already produces 1,000 tonnes of bioplastics a year, but the product "cannot compete" because it costs US$ 11 to $19 a kg, compared with $1.10 for polyethylene. Making plastic from rapeseed, however, "should be much cheaper," and they reckon it should cost just $1.60 a kg.

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