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Biodegradable polymers capture new attention

SpecialChem / Feb 23, 2005

Biodegradable polymers were developed several decades ago but have been slow to reach commercial maturity. That is because they have generally had higher costs and less robust physical properties than conventional plastics. In addition, there have not been sufficient incentives for downstream processors to incorporate the biodegradable materials into their products. Things are changing, however. New large-scale production systems are bringing down the costs of biodegradable polymers, and sophisticated polymerization and blending techniques are making such materials stronger and more durable. In addition, food and beverage producers, seeking good will from an increasingly environmentally conscious public, have begun to employ biodegradable plastics for a variety of packaging applications. In some cases, local and national laws are also encouraging the use of degradable materials. Biodegradable polymers, especially those derived from biological sources, are a minor factor in the world plastics market.

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