Summarised from a press release on the web monitored for the Global Ideas Bank by Valerie Yule.
Australian scientists have developed revolutionary packaging materials that are fully biodegradable.
'Shopping bags of wheat starch will compost down fully in around 30 to 60 days'
Based on wheat starch, the new materials could be used for shopping bags, to pack vegetables, in place of polystyrene trays for baked goods, and other purposes such as mulch film for farming and gardening.
"The materials consist of wheat starch and are blended with other biodegradable materials so they will compost down fully in around 30 to 60 days.
"We estimate our materials could replace around 60,000 tonnes of plastic packaging that ends up in landfills each year," says Dr Roger Edwards, Executive Director of the CRC for International Food Manufacture and Packaging Science (Food and Packaging CRC).
"This will have huge benefits for the environment."
The packaging technology was developed jointly by the Food and Packaging CRC, Swinburne University, CSIRO, and the University of Queensland. It is now being commercialised and Dr Edwards says that he hopes that it will start being available to consumers during 2001.