Researchers have created a polymer coating for paper packaging that degrades quickly in the natural environment and does not contain harmful components.
Currently, paper cups, juice containers, various boxes and other similar products are protected from external influences using elastic thermoplastics. The problem is that such lamination is very strong and adheres well to the surface, which does not allow re-recycling the paper and harms the ecosystem if it gets into a body of water..
An alternative option is the use of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) hazardous to human health..
Now a team from the University of Michigan has come up with a completely safe way to protect paper products. Scientists have developed a coating made up of biocompatible and biodegradable components. It contains contact lens oil, polyvinyl alcohol and a starch-like polymer derived from shellfish.
The new coating has a low production cost, is not plastic, protects paper well from external influences and decomposes in natural conditions into water, carbon dioxide and other neutral substances. Since it is not as elastic as thermoplastics, it can be easily removed from the surface by simply softening the paper..
We also previously reported that the Coca-Cola Company has already begun testing a prototype of its first paper bottle..
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text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Michigan State University