Researchers working at Missouri University of Science and Technology are working on developing hybrid plastics that would biodegrade in landfills within four months. Polylactic acid is polyester derived from cornstarch that decomposes and mineralizes into water and carbon dioxide when composted. It’s already being used in some brands of compostable “plastic” bags. The team is working to blend the acid with other bio- and oil-based polymers to find the right kinds of resins for commercial use.
They’re also looking at re purposing waste materials resulting from biodiesel refinement—anything that can be culled from renewable sources. Whether this is, a long-term solution remains to be seen.