The film, which uses biopolymers based on sugar and fat, has been approved by India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority.
“Developing biodegradable alternatives to plastic is a major need since single-use plastic has become a global challenge in terms of environmental hazards,” Rinti Banerjee, Madhuri Sinha Chair Professor, department of biosciences and bioengineering, tells Hindustan Times. The group had been developing non-toxic materials and technologies for medical applications that degrade in the body, “and therefore felt our knowledge of biomaterials can address the need of biodegradable alternatives to plastic that can be degraded completely and are also suitable for reuse,” she adds.
IITB claims their film has better tensile strength than high-density polyethylene and polylactic acid films, and breaks down within a month. The team is currently scaling the technology in partnership with a Chennai packaging company.