Plastic has a heavy impact on our environment. According to the Agency for Environmental Protection of the United States, in 2011 plastic constituted over 12% of municipal solid waste. This quantity, which at first glance may seem minimal, turns frightening if compared with that of the ’60s, when the plastic waste accounted for less than 1%!
Suddenly the world discovered plastic, so versatile, durable and cheap that our homes are full, and we don’t even realize it. But this luxury causes that an enormous amount of plastic materials is dispersed in the environment and remains potentially forever because no bacterium has the ability to biodegrade it (probably plastic tastes disgusting to bacteria!).
To date, none of the bioplastics on the market is fully sustainable or their production costs are too high, therefore not competitive with the “classic” plastic.
But Gadi Rothenberg and Albert Albert of the University of Amsterdam have done by mistake a discovery that could lead to a radical change.
Busy with the development of biological kerosene, instead they created a material biodegradable in the water, a material that seems bakelite, a material which, in some cases, is even cheaper than plastic! This compound competes with plastic for versatility: according to the researchers, you can use it to create anything, from harder materials to soft foam.
What is this new plastic made of? Basically plant waste material, with easy and local availability and production. And, very important news, the combustion does not create toxic gases.
If after a picnic a fork of bioplastic falls in a stream, no problem: in a few weeks your fork will disappear, becoming fish food! (However, we are careful and throw forks in the trash bin.)
In the first image, another use of this plastic: plant a beautiful shrub in the garden directly with the vessel, which will get biodegraded and provide excellent food for the plant.
We will follow the developments of this research and we hope it will fulfill all its potential.