Items that seem destined for the refrigerator can take another path when things like corn, potatoes, wheat, and cheese are used to make polymers called bioplastics. Whip up your own bioplastic at home or in the lab and learn where you’ll already find these amazing materials in everyday life.
- Instant Cheese Bioplastic
Got milk? Make a bioplastic! This demonstration teaches about bioplastics and how to make one, including a recipe/activity to send home with the audience.
Experiments & Activities
- ACS ChemMatters—Plastics Go Green
Read more about bioplastics in this article written for high school students, then cook up your own bioplastic with kitchen chemicals and a microwave.
- Recycling Polylactic Acid
Instead of recycling a biodegradable polymer, turn it into something new and useful—a cleaning solution.
- Starch to Plastics: Making Bioplastic Lab
Make your own mix to create a custom bioplastic and then put it to the test to see how much force it can handle before it breaks.
- Making a Plastic from Potato Starch
Start with a potato and end up with a bioplastic, while investigating the effect of adding or leaving out glycerol, a plasticiser.
Articles & Information
- Original Spud Raincoat
Put on a potato and stay dry. Learn about this raincoat made out of potato starch bioplastic. You can even plant it when you’re done!
- Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Race for Greener Bottles
Pepsi and Coke have spent years battling it out for supremacy. Now, they’re competing to see who can be greener, faster.
- What Is the Future of Bioplastics?
Ever popped open a plant to have a gulp of soda? You might have if you’ve used a bottle made of bioplastic. Learn about the challenges and potential future of plastics made from plant material.
- What Is Corn Plastic?
Corn isn’t just for eating anymore—it’s for making polymers too. Find out how bioplastics are manufactured, what they’re used for, and the pros and cons of their use.
- Green Plastics
Want to learn about plastics and what makes them green? Wondering what “greenwashing” is and if it’s a good thing? Start here!
- Seaweed: A Novel Source for Bioplastics
Look into the latest in materials for making plastics—seaweed.
Videos and Podcasts
- ACS Bytesize Science—Plastics Go Green
Learn what it means to be green and what’s being done with polymers made from plant materials.
- The Business of Bioplastics
Can you make a car out of soy and wheat? Take a look at how they’re already being used in the Ford Flex.
- What Are Bioplastics?
Get the scoop on bioplastics in less than four minutes and find out why you should walk away if someone offers to give you a great deal on bioplastic tires for your car.
- Chemistry Corner: Bioplastics
Whip up your own bioplastic from household materials with directions in this YouTube video while learning more about the chemistry, uses, and drawbacks of bioplastics.
- Bioplastic—The Plastic Wrap That's Good Enough to Eat
Unwrap your sandwich, eat it, then eat the wrap! Take a look at the edible wrapping a lab has developed.
(all sites accessed March 2013)