Many grocery store foods are wrapped in plastic packaging that creates non-recyclable, non-biodegradable waste, even though thin, plastic films are not efficient at preventing spoilage. Some plastics are also suspected of leaching harmful compounds into food.
Researcher Peggy Tomasula, D.Sc., is leading a U.S. Department of Agriculture team developing an environmentally friendly film made of the milk protein casein that addresses these issues. She says, “The proteinbased films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage. When used in packaging, they could prevent food waste during distribution along the food chain.”
Plastic six-pack rings are renowned for their negative impact on wildlife and the environment. Now the Saltwater Brewery, in Delray Beach, Florida, is making edible six-pack rings for beer cans that are 100 percent biodegradable. Constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process, they can be safely eaten by animals that come into contact with the refuse. Company President Chris Gove says, “We hope to influence the big guys and inspire them to get on board.”
Source: American Chemical Society