London, July 5 : A scientist has invented the world's fastest bio-degradable polymer that degrades faster than other plastics.
According to a report in The New Straits Times Online, the invention, known as "Degra-TPE", which was created by Professor Hanafi Ismail, is made using recycled and natural materials.
The invention has won Professor Ismail a gold medal at the International Invention, Innovation, Industrial Design and Technology Exhibition 2008.
"Compared to other plastics such as Santoprene and Geolast, Degra-TPE, which is made from 15 per cent waste plastic and rubber, takes between three and six months to degrade due to the special additive that accelerates degradation," said Ismail.
"Other plastics take more than 100 years to degrade," he added, adding that the other form of Degra-TPE was made from starch.
According to Hanafi, the cost of manufacturing Degra-TPE was 20 per cent cheaper than other plastics in the market.
Hanafi, who started the project three years ago, said that the invention was to help solve the environmental problem caused by the disposal of non-degradable petroleum-derived polymers.
"The world's consumption of polymeric materials has increased from around 5 million tonnes in the 1950s to nearly 100 million tonnes today," he said.
"Besides the non-degradability of synthetic polymers, the shortage of landfill space, the depletion of petroleum resources, the rising price of petroleum and concerns over emissions during incineration have spurred efforts to produce degradable polymers," he added.