Bioplastics are in vogue. But there are still very few sustainable alternatives for products containing foamed plastic. At present these materials still tend to be made from fossil resources, with the addition of synthetic materials. The resulting products have a huge environmental impact, as it takes decades or even centuries for the plastics to break down into microparticles, and they will never degrade entirely. ETH researcher Zuzana Sediva has developed a process with which biowaste can be processed into foams.
The solution is sustainable in two respects: first, the biomass used in her process is a natural waste product – coming partly from agriculture. Second, organic foam degrades much faster than conventional foamed plastic. As part of her Pioneer Fellowship, the researcher is now optimizing the process for industrial use. After all, production is not a problem, even in large quantities.
Read more about Alternative foaming agents in the ETH news.