This summer, Iowans may be serving corn -on- corn. Cargill Dow is making disposable dinnerware out of corn-based plastic. It could also create a new value-added market for Iowa corn producers. Company spokesman Mike O’Brien says after you’re done with the plastic plates, cups, knives, spoons and forks — they’re biodegradable.O’Brien says the plastic can composted and when it hits the right heat and moisture conditions, it will essentially degrade into dirt. O’Brien says the technology to turn corn into plastic was developed by Cargill 14 years ago, but the corn-based dinnerware is just becoming available to consumers now. He says the process starts when an ag processor breaks down the corn into raw sugar.He says “We buy that dextrose and raw sugar and we ferment it into a compoundcalled lactic acid, boil it down to something called lactide, and then we polymerize it into a little plastic pellet that comes out the end of our plant.” If you prefer to snuggle up under some corn-based plastic instead of eating off of it, O’Brien says a blanket woven from the material is also in production.
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