Since the 1970s, scientists have been searching for efficient ways to make products out of fast-degrading biomaterials instead of plastics.
It’s been a tough pursuit. Biomaterial alternatives for plastic need to be not only environmentally friendly, but also strong enough to perform the functions of traditional plastic: contain liquids, hold store-bought goods, and preserve food. And, maybe most importantly, the alternative has to be cheap to make. So far, the plastic alternatives of recent decades — from seaweed to oxo-degradable plastic — haven’t quite checked all the boxes.