Eco-Friendly Plastics

Description and Advantages

The Environmental Polymers Group (EPG) of the United States has developed a new biodegradable plastic wrapper that is soluble in water under specific conditions. EPG has been able to successfully modify polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), a polymer used to coat drug capsules, for use in conventional equipment. This development facilitate production of PVOH with the quality required for commercial applications.

PVOH, water, glycerol and a small quantity of silica are mixed together to form a `pre-blend' flakes. These flakes must then be melted to form pellets. The pellets are shipped to facilities that, with some minor modifications, can process them using standard melt-processing equipment into various products. The temperature at which the product dissolves in water is determined during the pelletization process. Micro-organisms degrade the dissolved PVOH into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.


Vatis Update: Waste Technology, Jul-Aug 2001