Virgina Tech scores $2.4M USDA grant to create bioplastics from food waste

January 19, 2023 |

In Virginia, researchers in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech received a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to create bioplastics from food waste diverted from landfills

The three-year grant will test the scalability and feasibility of the conversion of these wastes into bioplastics on a national and global scale, with the target of keeping costs for the produced bioplastics as low as possible. Unlike traditional plastics made from petroleum-based materials, bioplastics are made from biological elements such as plant or animal oils and naturally degrade in compost and waterways.

The project also tackles the challenge of oceanic plastic pollution that is becoming ever more apparent, with microplastics affecting nearly 88 percent of all marine species, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Because they can quickly biodegradable in water, these plastics will reduce the lasting impact on marine life across the globe.

The first-of-its kind pilot project will develop and demonstrate an affordable modular bioprocessing system to produce biodegradable bioplastics from food waste.

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Category: Research

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