As noted in the upcoming April issue of Digger, various researchers have looked at such disparate ingredients as cow manure, bamboo, corn starch resins, recycled paper, feathers and coir fiber as the basis for constructing alternatives to the plastic nursery pot. Now one could add the leaves of hybrid poplar trees to the list.
As reported in the East Oregonian newspaper (Pendleton, Ore.), researchers at Oregon State University, led by Steven Strauss and Ganti Murthy, are studying the use of biopolymers in the poplar leaves to create biodegradable plastics, for presumably many different uses. Plastic nursery pots are one application that would make a lot of sense, as green-minded gardeners would probably embrace a biodegradable pot.
The research is being funded by the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (BEST) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Oregon BEST is a partnership of four Oregon universities that aims to translate the work of researchers into private enterprise jobs. The researchers are working in collaboration with GreenWood Resources, a Portland-based grower of hybrid poplars. A tip of the hat to the East Oregonian for publishing this interesting story, which you can read in full by clicking the link.