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Transparent wood: Eco-friendly alternative one of most ‘promising replacements’ for plastic

Transparent wood holds potential as an eco-friendly alternative to glass or plastic used to create biomedical equipment, see-through packaging, and automotive windshields, according to a study.

Transparent wood is created by eliminating the lignin content of wood and substituting it with transparent, plastic materials. It was first created in 1992 by German scientist Siegfried Fink and has subsequently been refined by other researchers. In contrast to plastics, lignin is a naturally occurring biopolymer that supports plant tissue and is non-toxic.

The amount of single-use plastic that is currently used and then wasted globally amounts to over 400 million tonnes per year. One of the most promising replacement materials for the future is translucent wood, which is now appearing, according to the UN Environment Program.

The majority of the time, tiny slices of wood are used to create transparent wood, which is stronger than conventional wood but lighter in weight. It is a distinctive bio-based substrate with a wide range of applications due to the potential for incorporating specialised materials to impart diverse and advanced features.

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