The appearance of biogradable plastics on the market has been postponed for three-quarters of a century at least because of our love affair with cheap oil. It is no surprise that a country like Japan, which has very little oil to love, would lead in the marketing of non-petroleum plastics. (Italy is another leader).
The iconic American inventors Henry Ford and Thomas Edison experimented with soybean plastics in the 1930s. See, for example, the remarkable data collected by Ford: http://www.luminet.net/~wenonah/new/soybean.htm
But the big money during and aftr WWII was betting on oil rigs and pipe lines, not Iowa farmers and soy beans.
Consequently, plastics got a bad "rap," some releasing sulfuric acid when they burn, some gassing toxic substances even when not aflame, and most swelling landfills with useless material that takes centuries to decompose.
Plant-based plastics need not have these drawbacks. For a sampling of some useful products that can now be made--no fuss, no muss--from vegetable-based plastics, go to http://www.google.com
and search for "NO SLIDE TITLE soy plastics."
For solar voltaic cells to supplant oil as a primary energy source, some form of organic collector (either plastic or carbon 60, for example) is almost certain to be necessary, since silcon is too heavy, inflexible, and cannot be sustainably worked. At least some of the raw material for the organic cells just might be grown by farmers
Bob Monie--Zone 8
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