May 11, 2010

Midwest Biopolymers & Biocomposites Workshop


Ramani Narayan

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Going Green - Understanding Biobased and Biodegradability Concepts and Looking Out for "Green Washing" Claims

Green terminologies like biodegradability, biobased, sustainable, are increasingly used in defining and describing plastics and other products. The expectation is that they offer reduction in carbon footprint (global warming/climate change issues), environmentally responsible end-of-life options like composting or recycling or waste to energy.

In this lecture, we will learn how using bio/renewable feedstock as opposed to petroleum/fossil feedstock to synthesize single use, disposable plastic products offers the value proposition of a reduced carbon foot print. Biodegradability is a property attribute that can be engineered into biobased or petrobased products to provide for an environmentally responsible end-of-life option in selected biological disposal systems like composting, and anaerobic digestion. This is particularly important and valuable attribute for single use, disposable, short-life plastic products used in the food service area. However, there is a number of misleading, deceptive, and scientifically unsubstantiated biodegradability claims proliferating in the marketplace

This presentation will teach the science behind biodegradable and biobased products and the facts. It will allow you to guard against misleading claims, and learn to ask the right questions, be knowledgeable on the Standards used, and gain a fundamental understanding of the issues in this space.




Ramani Narayan

Ramani Narayan

University Distinguished Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Michigan State University

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