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Biodegradable Polymers for the Environment

Science  02 Aug 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5582, pp. 803-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5582.803

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Abstract

Biodegradable polymers are designed to degrade upon disposal by the action of living organisms. Extraordinary progress has been made in the development of practical processes and products from polymers such as starch, cellulose, and lactic acid. The need to create alternative biodegradable water-soluble polymers for down-the-drain products such as detergents and cosmetics has taken on increasing importance. Consumers have, however, thus far attached little or no added value to the property of biodegradability, forcing industry to compete head-to-head on a cost-performance basis with existing familiar products. In addition, no suitable infrastructure for the disposal of biodegradable materials exists as yet.

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