Chapter 39: Better to corrupt plastics than the environment
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Plastics waste, including bags, is a major source of land degradation and a threat to natural life in oceans and in rivers and lakes. Among available, newly introduced and promising remedies is substitution of biodegradable, compostable plastics to traditional plastics in widely diffused objects. Set up in 1989 as a spinoff of an ailing large chemical concern, the Italian small company Novamont has been working hard to introduce a new breed of plastics called Mater-bi, that can be used for making shopping bags and agricultural mulching films, with an interesting outlook of entering the markets of plastic tableware, food service and packaging. Most of Mater-bi is made out of vegetable materials, and Novamont is promoting cultivation in arid land and abandoned sites, together with production and diffusion of nature-friendly soil improvers and herbicides. Other biochemical companies, like Carbios in France and Novozymes in Denmark, are engaged in developing enzymes that transform plastics largely used into recyclable material.