The mother nature is dying, and we are killing it! We created a monster called “plastic,” and it is consuming the world. If we don’t change things quickly, we soon might drown into the sea of plastic. Despite all the efforts of all the well-wishers and the NGOs, 8 million tons of plastic end up being the deeps of the oceans.
The good news is that the researches and scientists all around the world are working relentlessly to find a sustainable solution to the plastic problem. Each year, many projects emerge with a solution to solve the issue.
Today, we would look into a few of those projects that might save us from the inevitable doomsday!
Nano-Engineering Inspired by Nature
A team from the University of Pittsburgh created a method of designing new packaging material mimicking the ways of mother nature. They are using nano-engineering technology to create re-cyclable materials that can replace the unrecyclable plastics.
That means they would change the molecular structure of the plastic to create a recyclable version of the same plastic. The good news is that the technology can give birth to a vast number of replacements of the plastic.
It’s certainly a different type of approach coming from Aronax Technologies Spain. They propose to design a kind of magnetic additive to a product to create air and moisture insulation. Moreover, the additive layer would be recyclable.
They suggest creating this additive layer with silicate particles and iron oxide. This layer can be identified and separated during a later phase of recycling.
Packaging Layer Made of Food Waste
Each year, we waste 1.3 billion tons of food. Elk Packaging and Associated Labels and Packaging suggest creating a bio-plastic made of the wasted food. They have demonstrated such packaging material already. These bioplastics are compostable and have robust durability.
Apart from food wastes, the material can be created from agricultural by-products and renewable products.
It can be created from crisps, granola bars, and even detergent!
To create a bio-degradable packaging solution, VVT Technical Research Centre of Finland designed a multi-layer material made of forestry and agricultural by-products. Among the basic ingredients, there are muesli, dried fruits, nuts, and rice.
Rather than choosing fossil fuel-based plastic, they are using cellulose, which is the most abundant renewable polymer on earth!
Compostable Silicate and Biopolymer Packaging
Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC has developed a compostable coating made of silicate and biopolymers. It is safe to use to protect food from premature degradation and completely biodegradable.
It can also bolster other biodegradable coatings to enhance the shelf life of many products!
All of these projects are the winner of the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize. This initiation is launched by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit, and Wendy Schmidt.
Each of these teams has been awarded $2 million and participation in a 12-month accelerator program.