It may become possible to eat the plate and what is in it in the future. Of course, not because of hunger and scarcity of food, but because of the edibility of the dish. The English start-up Notpla has created an edible, biodegradable alternative to the plastic from seaweed. She hopes this innovation will reduce the 300 million tons of plastic waste that humans produce each year.
The company says the material it has developed can be used to canning food and drinks, or to make single-use dishes similar to natural biodegradable plastic within 4 to 6 weeks, which is a very short time compared to the few hundreds of years it takes synthetic plastic to biodegrade.
The startup extracted the membranes from seaweed farmed in northern France. Then, after drying and grinding it into a powder, it transformed it, by means of undisclosed methods, into a thick thick liquid, which turns into a plastic-like substance after it dries.
Known for its post-use edible water cans 5 years ago, the company has proven popular among runners of the London Marathon and other events. The company is currently exploring other uses for this technology.
Sustainable natural resources
Seaweed is more environmentally friendly than starch-based alternatives because it does not need land or time to grow.
One of the startup’s founders, Rodrigo Garcia, says, “It is one of the most abundant resources. One of the seaweed we use grows at a rate of up to one meter per day. Can you imagine something growing so quickly? We have been using it for a long time. “
Later this year, Notable will launch a new line of manufacturing disposable food containers that are free of synthetic chemicals and covered with a waterproof and grease resistant liner.
These containers will be completely biodegradable in nature in 3 to 6 weeks, compared to three months for untreated cardboard and hundreds of years for cardboard lined with a type of plastic known as “PLA”. They are the two materials used today in making this type of vessel.
“What we’ve done is replace PLA with our natural materials, so even if it’s thrown into nature, it will naturally degrade like a piece of fruit or a vegetable,” Juno Wilson, the startup’s project and business manager, told Business Insider Today.
Would you be an alternative to plastic?
Single-use plastics are ubiquitous in our daily lives, and they make up more than half of the annual plastic manufacturing volume estimated at 300 million tons. These huge quantities make many people doubt the ability of these small alternatives to have a real impact reducing plastic damage to the environment.
But Notebook’s founders view plastic use as a difficult addiction to break. They work to achieve this goal by using this new material in the manufacture of new food and drink packaging, as well as clothes and screws (screws) for ready-to-assemble furniture.
“It’s all about impact. We started this because we wanted to be part of the solution to the plastic crisis. This is what motivates the whole team, so this is a really exciting problem to work on,” said Pierre Basler, one of the founders of the startup.
Currently, the startup keeps the prices of its innovative materials secret, but sells its products wholesale to companies working to provide environmentally friendly consumables for the benefit of their customers.