South Africans will soon be able to dispose of their plastic bags along with the rest of their waste without having to worry about any possible negative effects on the environment. A team of local scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR’s) polymer and composite research group in Port Elizabeth broke new ground when they recently developed 100% biodegradable plastic bags made from agricultural by-products. The maize and sugar cane bio-based bags are completely biodegradable in mud‚ soil‚ water and compost and break down completely in just three to six months. So advanced is the technology that the bags can also be recycled and major retailers such as Woolworths and Pick n Pay are already in line to test the product in a pilot phase. On Monday, CSIR senior researcher Sudhakar Muniyasamy‚ who led the team that made the discovery‚ said the new bags had the same durability as normal plastic bags but with "many more advantages". "These biodegradable plas...

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