The lotus effect: Researchers develop self-cleaning bioplastic to repel climate change

Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a self-cleaning bioplastic based on the biological structure of lotus leaves, which they say can prevent product waste and aid recycling processes in food and beauty markets. 


Mehran Ghasemlou, the lead author of the study, tells PackagingInsights the invention was inspired by the “notoriously water-repellent lotus leaf,” which is native to Northern Australia. 

“Lotus leaves are renowned for having some of the most water-repellent surfaces on earth and are almost impossible to get dirty. This is due to the leaf’s surface structure – tiny pillars topped with a waxy layer,” he says. 

“Any water that lands on the leaf remains a droplet, simply rolling off, and the droplets sweep up dirt as they slide down, keeping the leaf clean. Our bioplastic mimics that surface structure to achieve the same effect.” 

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