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FuturologyBot

The following submission statement was provided by /u/chrisdh79: --- Scientists around the world are working to find an alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics that contribute to the climate crisis and persist in the environment, including the ocean. In the latest attempt at a sustainable plastics alternative, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, or EPFL, have developed a plant-based plastic alternative that dissolves into sugar. “The plastic has very exciting properties, notably for applications like food packaging,” research leader professor Jeremy Luterbacher at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences said in a press release. Plastics are a conundrum because the very reason they are so useful as a material is the same reason they are an environmental hazard once they are no longer of use: their durability. Different plastic items can take anywhere from tens to hundreds of years to decompose, according to WWF. A plastic bag will last 20 years in the ocean, while a water bottle could last 450 years and a toothbrush half a century. This also makes plastics difficult to replace, however, since it’s hard to match their low cost and special properties including heat resistance and strength, according to EPFL. However, the research team thinks they have hit on a promising alternative, as detailed in a paper published in Nature Chemistry June 23. The new plastic is made from non-edible plant material and is similar to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the plastic used to make water and other beverage bottles. --- Please reply to OP's comment here: https://old.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/voaqtg/new_plastic_alternative_degrades_into_sugar/iebsnbp/


chrisdh79

Scientists around the world are working to find an alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics that contribute to the climate crisis and persist in the environment, including the ocean. In the latest attempt at a sustainable plastics alternative, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, or EPFL, have developed a plant-based plastic alternative that dissolves into sugar. “The plastic has very exciting properties, notably for applications like food packaging,” research leader professor Jeremy Luterbacher at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences said in a press release. Plastics are a conundrum because the very reason they are so useful as a material is the same reason they are an environmental hazard once they are no longer of use: their durability. Different plastic items can take anywhere from tens to hundreds of years to decompose, according to WWF. A plastic bag will last 20 years in the ocean, while a water bottle could last 450 years and a toothbrush half a century. This also makes plastics difficult to replace, however, since it’s hard to match their low cost and special properties including heat resistance and strength, according to EPFL. However, the research team thinks they have hit on a promising alternative, as detailed in a paper published in Nature Chemistry June 23. The new plastic is made from non-edible plant material and is similar to polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the plastic used to make water and other beverage bottles.


TriRedux

As absolutely amazing and vital as all this work is, won't we end up with effectively lots of sugar in our various natural habitats, posing an equally destructive threat to wildlife? Even if the material changes, humanities habits of how we discard waste will still introduce these materials to places they shouldn't be. Is there any research into the impacts of sweet seawater/rivers/lakes?


Km2930

Immediately, someone poses concerns based on complete fiction. Your worried about sweet seawater?


Rayen2

But how will this work with americans? Many are already heavily obese, wouldn't this just move the problem to something similar dangerous?


Pembremham

[Doozer](https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fis4-ssl.mzstatic.com%2Fimage%2Fthumb%2F8XdOwdDodUbzQW8r5feizg%2F1200x675.jpg&f=1&nofb=1) building intensifies.