Single-use plastics plague our oceans as landfills overflow and waste is mismanaged. Jambeck et al estimated that only 30% of all plastic ever produced are currently in use, and in 2015 only 9% was recycled. The packaging and single-use plastics industry are two main contributors to this ever increasing amount of plastic production and pollution. To reduce waste accumulated in landfills the single-use abuse of environmentally persisting plastics should be replaced with a biologically degradable plastic alternative such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs.) PHAs are a class of hydrophobic thermoplastic polyesters that offer diverse physical properties based on their chemical composition. Aqueous dispersions for paperboard coating are a primary target application for these biologically degradable PHAs. However, PHAs tend to have a slow nucleation rate and this problem has continued to negatively impact its industrial applicability. Homopolymer polyhydroxybutyrate is an additive that greatly increases nucleation rate and density, and its positive effects on nucleation are even further enhanced with the use of a water-soluble nucleation aid. The improvements in the nucleation rate and material properties of PHA allow for these materials to be a viable option for many industrial applications, including those requiring almost instantaneous nucleation.
1. Geyer, R., J.R. Jambeck, and K.L. Law, Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made. Science Advances, 2017. 3(7): p. e1700782.
2. Noda, I., et al., Preparation and Properties of a Novel Class of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Copolymers. Biomacromolecules, 2005. 6(2): p. 580-586.