Inspired by the pristine lotus leaf, Australian scientists have engineered a quickly biodegradable yet self-cleaning plastic they say is ideal for packaging fresh and takeaway foods.
If successfully commercialised, the wholly compostable product would help reduce the almost 80 per cent of plastic waste left to accumulate as landfill or sloughed off as a litter.
Like the foliage of the Nelumbo nucifera blossom, the synthetically-engineered substance repels liquids and dirt, making it suitable to meet hygiene standards.
Once discarded, it then breaks down rapidly in the soil.
Lead author of the RMIT University project, PhD candidate Mehran Ghasemlou, says the bioplastic was created with mass production in mind