Wheat is neat -- in packaging, that is

Nov 18, 2004

USDA researchers are developing lightweight, biodegradable, takeaway food containers made from wheat starch, reports just-food.com.

Plant physiologists in California are working with the EarthShell packaging company to complete the environmentally friendly containers. Molded from wheat-starch batter, containers – as well as cups, bowls and plates – are treated with a water-resistant coat to maintain form and strength.

While the containers are more expensive than those made from polystyrene, researchers say having a selection of starches such as wheat or corn to choose from will give manufacturers flexibility to maintain competitive pricing. Attractive, durable, and easy to use, wheat-based containers biodegrade in a few weeks in compost piles, unlike polystyrene clamshell containers whose petroleum-based structures pile up in landfills.

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