Yes plastics can be produced from chemical compounds within corn. However, this is not necessarily environmentally friendly. Corn, as it is currently produced, uses more oil energy (in the form of nitrogen fertilizer, tilling, and transportation) than it creates. Corn derived, “bio plastics” were developed to create a new market for the overproduced of government subsidized corn. Corn could be an environmentally friendly source for plastic but it would have to be produced on a much less intensive scale, which might not make it economically feasible.
Petroleum contains cellulose, which is what is used to make plastics. However, cellulose can also be derived from plants, like the corn based plastics bialowieza mentioned. Hemp cellulose can also be used. In fact, hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth according to hemp.com, as the stalk can be composed of 85% cellulose. A company called Hemp Plastics has even created a 100% biodegradable plastic made from hemp and corn.
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