A biological reactor that converts a slurry of food waste into a biodegradable plastic has been developed by scientists in Hawaii, providing a use for the obscene quantities of food rich countries throw away every year.

The polymer created could be used to make greener packaging, disposable products such as bottles, or even pills that dissolve slowly to release drugs in the body.

More than 22 million tonnes of waste food are ditched each year in the US alone. The waste makes landfills stink and releases the greenhouse gas methane. And the reeking contents can also leach into groundwater.

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