(UK)

A breakthrough by scientists at Bath University could help in mitigating some of the environmental and financial devastation being caused by plastic waste.

Last week’s World Oceans Day was a moment to increase awareness of the dreadful impact plastic is having in our seas. And key initiatives were promoted aimed at stemming the tide of a situation, which left unchecked, could see more plastics than fish (by weight) in our seas by 2050, according to one report.

There is no silver bullet but work like that undertaken by scientists at Bath in developing biodegradable plastics made of sugar and carbon dioxide are steps towards solving the problem. The alternative it provides to polycarbonate made from BPA (banned from use in baby bottles) results in a plastic with similar properties to those made from petrochemicals. And importantly it can then be degraded back into carbon dioxide and sugar.

Dr Antoine Buchard, Whorrod Research Fellow in the University’s Department of Chemistry, said: “With an ever-growing population, there is an increasing demand for plastics. This new plastic is a renewable alternative to fossil-fuel based polymers, potentially inexpensive, and, because it is biodegradable, will not contribute to growing ocean and landfill waste.”