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Wood for paper and board industry

- Pressure is being put on existing plantations and forests to produce more wood pulp to meet demand increase in paper goods.
- Genetically modified trees are the results of gene manipulation (artificially inserting a gene from one plant into another, changing its biological characteristics)
- Advantages:

  • Quicker growing trees to provide a sustainable supply of wood pulp
  • Resistance to disease and insect attack to provide high-quality products
  • Reduced strength of lignin fibres meaning less chemicals needed in process
  • Better forest management, reducing deforestation
  • Efficient and faster production

- Disadvantages

  • Long-term side effects not apparent
  • Insects develop tolerance to modified trees
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Biodegradable polymers

- Polymers from materials which are renewable and will decompose in a natural environment. Some polymers are fully biodegradable, while others are only semi-biodegradable. Work on the priniciple that micro-organisms will break down their producing an inert product


  • Fully biodegradable in certain conditions
  • Reduction of time in landfill and associated harmful effects
  • Starch-based plastics formed from carbon which is already in our eco-system, does not contribute to global warming


  • Some plastics still give off carbon dioxide = global warming
  • Fully biodegradable plastics are more expensive
  • Semi-biodegradable remain in environment for years
  • Damages recycled polymers if mixed together
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Case Studies

- BIOPOL: British chemical company ICI first fully biodegradable polymer.

Carbohydrates + Sugar = Fermentation
Extracted Polymer ----> Factory Processing
Plastic Product -----> Compost Heap

- Will biodegrade when exposed to micro-organisms found in soil
Reduces landfill

- INNOCENT: Introduced eco-bottle made from a material (PLA) derived from corn starch
Advantages over other bottles:

  • Regular bottles use finite resources
  • PLA made from carbon neutral process
  • PLA biodegradable so breaks down safely and quickly
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