Dr. Noureddine Abidi, Professor and Director, Fiber and Biopolymer Research Institute (FBRI), Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX/USA, has won the 2020 Discover Natural Fibres Initiative Innovation Award. He has developed a process to produce a plastic substitute from cotton by dissolving the fibers to form a gel which can be transformed into bio-products, including plastic films.
Cotton fibers are approx. 99% cellulose, and cellulose-derived bioplastics are inherently biodegradable in landfills and composting facilities. Testing shows that when cotton cellulose bioplastic films are buried in soil, decomposition begins in about 3 weeks. However, when these bioplastic films are kept in normal household conditions, they remain stable with no sign of degradation. Therefore, products made from bioplastic film would have properties similar to those of plastics currently in common use.