Cheap coating turns paper into eco-friendly plastic
May 16, 2022 - Researchers in Japan have developed a cheap coating for paper that behaves like plastic, but is far less harmful to the environment.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a method to render paper waterproof with biodegradable materials that also destroy bacteria.
The silica-resin coating (made out of titanium dioxide nanoparticles dispersed in a silica-based film) is biodegradable and can make paper rigid, waterproof and bacteria-repellant without creating plastic pollution.
According to a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the coating, which can be simply brushed or sprayed onto paper, is called “Choetsu”.
Given its unique properties, its inventors believe it could be used to create non-plastic food packaging, disposable cutlery and drinking straws – thus helping reduce our dependence on plastic and cut down on harmful waste.
After use, agricultural mulch for weed control can be made from coated paper, which will degrade in nature without harming the environment.
- Scientists make paper durable like plastic, without the pollution (Vice)
- Cheap coating turns paper into plastic – then breaks down (Cosmos)
- Photocatalytic Silica–Resin Coating for Environmental Protection of Paper as a Plastic Substitute (ACS Publications)
- A brief history of how plastic straws took over the world (National Geographic)