Plastic is used worldwide due to its convenience and affordability. However, with such benefits come insurmountable costs, including plastic pollution, which causes climate change and habitat destruction. Fortunately, researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a prototype that mimics the behavior of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which consists of small fibers woven together.
With a mix of cellulose fibers and chitin, researchers produced a PET substitute that is transparent, strong, and durable, just like plastic. Moreover, this replacement is just as affordable.
Researcher J. Carson added, “Our material showed up to a 67 percent reduction in oxygen permeability over some forms of PET, which means it could in theory keep foods fresher longer [than plastic]”. Although currently still a prototype, it is likely that more efficient and biodegradable plastic substitutes will protect not only foods and drinks but also marine species in a more sustainable way in the near future.