Cotton waste can be turned into biodegradable plastic

The process of obtaining cotton for the manufacture of yarns and fabrics consists of several steps, and it leaves waste that is simply discarded in landfills, or incinerated. According to researchers from Australia’s Deakin University, the remaining debris can be used more wisely, and turn it into a biodegradable plastic. He, in turn, can become a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic materials, created on the basis of oil.

Cotton is obtained from a plant called cotton plant, after maturing which is a special machine to separate cotton fiber from seeds. According to Professor Maryam Naebe of Deakin University in the course of this process annually produces 29 million tons of cotton fluff (lint), and a third of this amount is discarded due to the presence of fibers, clumps of fibers and sticky seeds. As it turned out, this garbage can be used to create plastic films.

Environmentally-friendly plastic cotton

Researchers have shown that the remnants of cotton fibers, seeds, and stems can be dissolved in organic chemicals, and to obtain a liquid organic polymer to create a plastic film. It is believed that products made of this material quickly rots in the ground, and in addition serve as excellent fertilizer for the growth of new khlopchatnika.

Plastics can decompose and turn into soil, which then, in turn, will be used for the cultivation of cotton, explained Maryam Naebe.

Besides the fact that plastic from the cotton waste is well decomposed, its production is much cheaper than creating synthetic materials from petroleum. At the moment, the researchers want to apply the same technology to the waste plant of lemongrass and wheat and wood sawdust and chips.

Cotton waste (middle), and biodegradable plastic (on the edges)

The creation of biodegradable plastics also are researchers from tel Aviv University. In 2018, they said that the raw material for the manufacture of environmentally friendly material can provide even the waste products of marine plankton. Read more about their idea can be read in our material.

What can you say about the new material from cotton waste? To discuss it in the comments or in our Telegram chat.

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