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2013/2014 Project Descriptions

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EPA Grant Number: SU835535
Title: Sustainable Packaging Solutions based on Biodegradable Plastics

University of Massachusetts, Lowell’s team has developed a biodegradable coating that improves barrier properties of biodegrable plastics. Petroleum-based plastics currently used for food packaging do not biodegrade and often end up in landfills and the oceans. Compostable plastics such as PolyLactic Acid (PLA), which are derived from corn, can replace conventional plastics. However, to successfully use PLA as an effective food packaging alternative, newer strategies have to be developed for improving the gas barrier properties and maintaining food quality. The team's coating improves barrier properties of PLA, so that it blocks out oxygen and moisture and protects food. This improved corn-based packaging material will safely biodegrade when disposed after use.

Challenge Area(s): Materials & Chemistry

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