Bangalore, June 5: As the world battles to shun materials that harm the environment, nonetheless essential, a team of City scientists has achieved a breakthrough by successfully combining environmentally-friendly materials such as wood, clay and fibre with plastic.
The scientists and their institute, the Institute of Wood Sciences and Technology (IWST), believe that increased usage of wood can help change the climate change issue, and this should be good news to savour on World Environment Day.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, S C Joshi, Director, IWST, said: “Wood and plastic were considered to be like water and oil, impossible to combine. But our scientists, using nano technology on wood, for the first time in the country, have achieved this fete.”
Applications are aplenty for the composite that has been developed combining plastic and other bio-degradable materials such as wood and clay, senior scientist, Ajay Karmarkan said. The institute has successfully demonstrated a pilot project that can be commercialised.
“We have been able to manufacture a pen with this composite. Given that there was almost no material that we used to develop this technology was available in the Indian market, we had to even develop the machine that can combine the two,” Karmarkan said.
He added that the technology can be used to manufacture bigger products too. “Typically, a small pen manufacurer uses 15 tonnes of plastic a day. We all know the implications of using plastic.
Our technology enables them to reduce it to 7 tonne,” he explained. Having successfully tested the technology, the Institute is in the process of transfering the technology to a private company so that the product can hit the commercial markets.
“We are in talks with a company here. They have even produced some samples for us and we are happy. Once the commercial negotiations are through, the company will have the right to use the technology,” Joshi said.
He refused to divulge the company’ name as the negotiations are going on. Sources said that the company, which also has clients in the US, produces pens, ball pen body, mechanical pencils, among other products.
Joshi, while pointing out that the country’s policies need a revisit, said: “Banning cutting of trees and having strict rules for usage of wood is not the way to conserve the environment or negate climate change. One must understand that the materials that have replaced wood, including plastic are very harmful for the environment.”
He said that there must be a policy that focuses on increased usage of wood and also on contemporary techniques of plantation. “Wood is carbon neutral and biodegradable. Only increased usage of wood can help the environment. Many of the western countries have woken up to this fact but we are lagging,” he said.