Watch: Italy's answer to the problem with plastic

Novamont is creating bioplastics that disintegrate in water
Novamont is creating bioplastics that disintegrate in water Copyright AP
By Rachel Graham
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Testing is being carried out to confirm bioplastics disintegrate in the sea without harming aquaculture.


Damning figures suggest the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans will outweigh fish by 2050, says a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Not only is plastic leaking into the seas at a startling rate – a truckload per minute, according to World Economic Forum – but once it’s in there, fish mistake it for food.

The situation has left companies across Europe scrambling to produce alternatives to solve our growing problem with plastics.

One, Novamont, is in the testing phase of its latest bioplastic product, which is designed to biodegrade in a marine environment. Divers have taken it deep below the surface, finding that the product has started to degrade within a month of arrival underwater almost completely disintegrating within a year.

Novamont’s Mater-Bi bioplastic is already used in packaging, disposable tableware, farming, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals - some of which decompose in soil, others in water.

The company hailed the results of the tests, saying the findings validated the outcomes of its lab-based experiments.

"We came forward with the knowledge we have on our products, that things were as expected and that our products have the same biodegradable characteristics as paper in various marine environments when studied,” said CEO Catia Bastiolo.

“Also in terms of eco-sustainability, there weren't any negative effects on marine life."

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