Biodegradable plastic mulch: a climate-smart agricultural practice
During the growing and harvest seasons, vegetable producers often begin their day before sunrise and finish as the last light is seeping into the horizon. Challenges such as pests, disease, climate change, and weather make each day and each growing season unique and unpredictable. Vegetable farmers control some of the variables they face—like weeds and the temperature and moisture levels of their soil—by using a product that comes with pros and cons: plastic mulch. Shuresh Ghimire, assistant extension educator for vegetable crops in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), is working with producers in the US State of Connecticut to find alternatives to conventional plastic mulch without eliminating the benefits it brings. He is leading efforts to introduce more biodegradable plastic mulch for Connecticut’s vegetable producers.
Bioplastic records could help defossilize music business, says developer
A sugar-based alternative to vinyl could help to decarbonise the music industry, according to its developer. UK-based Evolution Music says its bioplastic can be used to create records and is aimed at making it easy for labels and artists to stop using plastic without altering record pressing plants’ existing machinery or production processes. The CEO of Evolution Music Marc Carey said, sonically and in terms of equalisation, the music recorded on the bioplastic records is “absolutely spot on. [In] the little bit of lead-in and in between the tracks there’s some surface noise. If you like that, if you’re a 70s fan, you like that little crackling, great,” he said, adding they are continuing to develop the product.
USD 450,000 grant awarded to improve PEF production
As a result of new research involving a cutting-edge facility at Montana State University (Bozeman, USA), agricultural biomass that would otherwise remain unused in farmers’ fields could instead be turned into plastic beverage bottles and food containers. Stephanie Wettstein, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in MSU’s Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, is leading a project to develop improved methods of making PEF, a biobased plastic similar to PET commonly used for food packaging. The work is backed by a three-year, USD 450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.