IBM develops plant-based biodegradable plastics

Researchers at IBM and Stanford University have developed a potentially revolutionary method of producing environmentally-friendly plastic from plants.

According to Dr. Chandrasekhar (Spike) Narayan of IBM, the chemistry breakthrough in sustainable plastics represents “another example” of how scientists are expanding beyond “traditional boundaries” by applying lessons learned in the development of photoresists for advanced microelectronics.

“In the process of solving the problem of how to make metal-free materials and processes for the thin polymeric films that serve as lithography materials for on-chip application, we began exploring other ways to apply this research beyond the traditional IT uses with our partners,” Narayan wrote in the Smarter Planet Blog.

“Through pioneering the application of organocatalysis to industries such as biodegradable plastics, plastics recycling and healthcare, this discovery and new approach that uses organic catalysts could lead to biodegradable materials made from renewable resources in an environmentally responsible way.”