Biodegradable packaging film from Bio-Plastic and natural rubber is the innovation of Assoc.Prof.Dr. Catheleeya Patthamaprom, Professor of Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Thammasat University (TSE). The product was shown in 30th Anniversary “TSE Engineering and Beyond” held by TSE.
Bio-Plastic packaging innovation is created from “Polylactic acid” and “natural rubber”. “Polylactic acid” is made from main agricultural products like sugarcane and cassava. “Natural rubber” is made from biological polymer which is an agricultural product. However, natural rubber price is dropped because there is higher supply than the demand. It is difficult to form polylactic acid into packaging because it is not suitable. However, natural rubber is more elastic and flexible. Therefore, this research work is about making a compostable bioplastic packaging from polylactic acid and natural rubber. Producing method, utilizing and composing is all environmentally friendly. Moreover, we found that natural rubber is biological polymer which costs less than polylactic acid. Therefore, it saves more cost for producing this biodegradable packaging film than using other biopolymers. The challenge to this innovation is the incompatibility and phase separation between polylactic acid and natural rubber. It causes film deformation and makes the packaging less strong and elastic. Packaging will be torn easily.
This innovation is a co product from researcher team, including professors and students from Chemical Engineering. They have been mutually developing biodegradable packaging film by using 25% of natural rubber. The film will be cheaper. Besides, additives are in food grade which is safe for human and compostable without harming the environment. This biodegradable packaging film is strong and elastic which is suitable for container purposes. It can be used as household garbage bag or planting bag. However, they are still developing film for food container purpose or for prolong vegetable life.