The problem of microplastics in marine environments is becoming a devastating issue throughout the world. There are also some reports that microplastics are already in our human body. These materials can damage human health because of plasticizer in the plastic.
To reduce petroleum-based plastic production and consumption, paper and pulp made products such as paper and pulp made straw, tray, dish, packaging products are recently used in the world market. However, water resistance and mechanical strength of these paper and pulp made products are weak and that is the problem.
In this regard, Dr. Hirotoshi Umemoto and Dr. Ryohei Mori at Green Science Alliance have developed 100% biomass biodegradable coating resin material that can improve water resistance and mechanical strength of paper and pulp made products. For example, paper straws were soaked in water for 30 minutes at room temperature. And after 30 minutes, 500g of weight were applied onto them. The paper straw without this coating material was bent due to the 500g of weight although the paper straw treated with this coating material was intact against water and 500g of weight. This clearly indicated this 100% biomass coating material is useful to improve water resistance and mechanical strength of paper straws. In addition, this newly developed materials have been used as food additive and FDA approved material so that they can be applied to tableware, packaging usage etc.