Barbies of the Future May Grow on Trees
Researchers use wood and wax to make biodegradable alternative
By Kristina Loew,  Newser User
Posted Dec 6, 2008 2:31 PM CST
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Yair Engel Kimberly Faye   (http://flickr.com/photos/kimberlyfaye/2539147596/)
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(Newser) – Wooden toys may not be so 1850s, scientists say. A bioplastic made from trees has been used to make everything from golf tees to car parts in recent years, but its sulfurous stink kept it out of the toy market. Now a sulfur-free version of "liquid wood" is available, and it may be molded into kid-friendly playthings, reports Discover.

The in-place-of-plastic substance relies on lignin, a component of wood that's discarded in the paper-making process. Mixed with natural fibers and additives like hemp and wax, it becomes toy-worthy plastic granules. As a show-and-tell, a company that manufactures liquid wood created a stink-free, 100% renewable and recyclable Nativity scene.