The new development is in line with the “New Plastics Economy” where this alternative sustainable material supports the circular economy, eliminates waste, maximises value and uses plastic efficiently.
Durian is a fruit commonly found throughout Southeast Asia with very thick and pulpy exterior. IIUM researcher Hazleen Anuar and her colleagues mixed durian skin fibres with epoxidized palm oil transforming it into biodegradable polymer which can be moulded into common food packaging containers.
After three months buried in soil, about 83% of the packaging had degraded, offering a significant improvement over other plastics that take hundreds of years to break down in landfills. There is dual application for this plastic, one for food packaging and the other is for 3D printing filament.
3D printing uses material layer-by-layer to build objects. Currently, a wide range of materials are used in 3D printing, and the biomass is suitable for making various products.
Durian skin fibre-based biocomposite could be an alternative material for 3D printing, which is biodegradable and utilises durian skin waste. Future work will focus on ways to reduce the cost of polymer which is polylactic acid thus enhancing the usage of this biocomposite in various fields in Malaysia.