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KAIST develops packaging material that is biodegradable in the sea

KAIST develops packaging material that is biodegradable in the sea

Posted May. 18, 2024 07:48,   

Updated May. 18, 2024 07:48


A domestic research team has developed a packaging material that is up to 82% biodegradable in the sea. KAIST announced on Friday that a joint research team led by Professor Myeong Jae-wook of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Professor Yang Han-seul of the Life Sciences Department, and Professor Seo Jong-cheol of the Yonsei University Department of Packaging and Logistics developed a sustainable marine biodegradable paper coating material.

Paper packaging, commonly used in everyday life, is eco-friendly. However, it is weak to water and tears easily. Coating materials such as polyethylene are used to overcome this, but these materials do not decompose.

The researchers produced a film using boric acid and polyvinyl alcohol, a biodegradable plastic. By coating this on paper, they created a high-strength packaging material that is easily decomposable and can block water and oxygen.

To confirm‎ the coated paper's biodegradability, the researchers exposed it to the marine environment, which is the most difficult environment for decomposition. After observing the coated paper for 111 days, they confirmed that it was biodegraded by 59 to 82%. Additionally, the safety of the coated paper was confirmed through rat biological reaction experiments.

“Because it is biodegradable in the natural environment and is a low-toxic material, it does not worsen environmental pollution even if unintentionally discarded, so it can potentially be a sustainable substitute for plastic packaging materials,” Professor Myeong said.

최지원 jwchoi@donga.com