Biodegradable plastics

August 17th, 2021

One million tonnes of Australia’s annual plastic consumption is single-use plastic such as that used in food packaging. One of the biggest problems with plastic and its growing use is it can take a long time to degrade in the environment, creating environmental impacts on our natural world.

What if we could find alternative plastic materials? Ones that degrade quickly, and leave no lasting environmental footprint? 

At CSIRO, we are working with industry and academia to investigate bioplastics that are able to degrade into carbon dioxide and water. Such bioplastics could be disposed of in industrial and home composts.

Using internationally recognised standards and test methods we are investigating materials that could produce compostable plastics, plant-based plastic composites as well as undertaking research to improve technology for producing bioplastics from renewable resources. 

Such biodegradable plastics could be used as a substitute for conventional non-degradable plastics in many applications such as coffee pods, fresh food packaging, shopping bags and picnicware. 

Find out more about this research in our project factsheet (pdf and word versions).

Find out more about ecotoxicology at this link.

Biodegradable plastic