In South Africa, scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Polymer and Composite Research Group in Port Elizabeth have reported 100% biodegradable and recyclable plastic bags made from byproducts of maize and sugarcane cultivation.
“These biodegradable plastic bags can improve market opportunities and end-user industry and reduce the amount of plastic waste in South Africa‚” CSIR senior researcher Sudhakar Muniyasamy tells The Dispatch Live. The bags are as durable as conventional plastic, he adds. “The technology is mainly designed to meet physical-chemical properties but after their use when disposed in natural environments it undergoes biodegradation in landfill‚ compost and marine water by process of natural microorganisms in a timely and efficient manner.”
Though Muniyasamy admits the bags cost two to three times that of conventional bags, Woolworths and Pick n Pay have already announced plans to use the bags on a pilot basis. “We hope that by September we will be able to give them some pilot samples to try out and we expect to be in the commercial stage by early next year.”