Chemical Plastic

March 29, 2011

For Our Health Sake, Use Less Plastic for Food Packaging

Recently, researchers at Texas A&M University say they may have found a more eco-friendly plastic to keep packaged foods fresh longer, and scientists at Texas A&M University also have developed a material to keep packaged foods airtight, while using less plastic.

At a meeting of the American Chemical Society this weekend in Anaheim, Calif., scientists presented “nano-bricks,” a product developed from the same material used to make bricks that they say will make plastic food packaging virtually airtight. Nano-bricks are composed of only 30 percent plastic polymers mixed with a natural clay material, making it more environmentally responsible than other types of plastics used to seal packaged food.

Plastic food packaging is often coated with another material to block oxygen from entering the package and spoiling the food inside. Some packaging has a layer of silicon oxide, a material similar to sand. Others products, like a bag of potato chips, use metalized plastics, plastics with a thin coating of metal or foil.

But some plastics can crack or break during transport, while metalized plastics cannot be microwaved and is not transparent, allowing shoppers to see the food inside. Nano-bricks solve these problems, its developers say, while using a material that is better for the environment.

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