AMES, IOWA (Oct. 25, 3:40 p.m. ET) — Iowa State University has been awarded a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop bioplastic containers for specialty crops including bedding plants, tomatoes and shrubs.
The Ames-based university plans to develop biodegradable containers made from bioplastics.
“Our vision is to provide sustainable alternatives that can meet the needs horticultural producers, and that will degrade harmlessly when installed with the plant in a garden,” said Bill Graves, professor of horticulture, in a news release.
Other participants in the research team include David Grewell, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering; Michael Kessler, associate professor of materials science and engineering; James Schrader, assistant scientist in horticulture; and scientists at the University of Illinois; University of Nevada-Reno; and Ohio State University.
According to the team, few of the plastic containers currently used for specialty crops are reused or recycled.