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Tom’s of Maine eyes potatoes for biodegradable packaging

August 8, 2013

Tom’s of Maine eyes potatoes for biodegradable packaging

Tom’s of Maine is studying the viability of using non-GMO potatoes that otherwise would be tossed in the garbage as feedstock for biodegradable packaging. The research is part of a partnership that includes the University of Maine and the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine, which are seeking ways of recapturing local agricultural waste.

Potato starch can be used to form polylactic acid (PLA), a plastic resin that could be used for mouthwash bottles or deodorant canisters, two products initially targeted under the company’s initiative. Potatoes are the biggest commodity in the state’s $1.2 billion annual agricultural industry. The potatoes that Tom’s of Maine proposes on using normally would be destined for landfills.

“One interesting finding from our research is that for the initial plant, we don’t need to take potatoes away from use as food to meet the needs for bioplastic production,” said Kate Dickerson, a researcher with the University of Maine.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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