Researchers develop method for bioplastic foam

My Clean Break column this week takes a look at new research out of the National Research Council of Canada, which has developed a method of making new polymer blends for the production of biodegradable “green” plastics. One particular blend foams up with the injection of carbon dioxide, making it a suitable starch-based replacement for polystyrene foam cups, containers and packaging. The scientists involved are calling it a breakthrough.

Styrofoam, as we all know, has eluded most municipal recycling programs that have emerged to accommodate our throwaway culture. While reduction and recycling may be the best policy for most plastics, including plastic water bottles, the idea of a green foam to replace Styrofoam makes sense where alternatives don’t exist. At least then we can throw the foam along with scrap food into the compost bin, where it will naturally break down over weeks — not hundreds of years.

The NRC said it will be in a position to license its approach within the next 12 months.