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US Department of Agriculture develops biodegradable plastic for disposable food containers

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a biodegradable plastic, dubbed a thermoplastic, which can be used in disposable food containers.

USDA have developed the thermoplastic in collaboration with Professor Jinwen Zhang of Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman. It is manufactured from both sugar beet pulp, which is the leftover residue from sugar extraction and a biodegradable polymer called polylactic acid/PLA using a twin screw extruder.

According to the USDA, the new thermoplastic is cost-competitive with petrochemical plastics.