The European Union is about to abolish its sugar quota, and from 2017 farmers will be allowed to produce as much sugar as they see fit. As a result the price of sugar is expected to drop, since the supply of sugar will increase. Consequently the sugar industry is looking for alternative uses of sugar.
One of this alternative application is to use sugar as a resource of bio-degradable plastic. For this crystalline sugar us produced from sugar beets, this crystalline sugar is subsequently converted in to lactic acid. From this lactic acid polylactic acid is made, a polymer or in common language: plastic.
Bio-degradable polymers or plastics have a huge potential as they will degrade over time and hence will not accumulate into large piles of waste. Additionally this bio-plastics are an alternative of petroleum-based plastics. Sooner or later oil will be depleted, or at least uneconomic to extract from the earth – known as peak oil -, hence alternative sources of plastics are required.
A New Girl in Town – a story set in a post-peak oil society