Notpla Sea Weed Packaging has come up with a substitute for single-use plastic in food and drink packaging. It has created edible, biodegradable packaging prepared from seaweed and plants. Notpla stands for the name as of not plastic.
In this article, we will understand biodegradable plastic, its requirement, and Notpla Sea Weed packaging.
- Conventional fossil-based plastic is non-biodegradable. It is best disposed of in recycling and landfill.
- Many bio-plastics are also non-biodegradable.
- Non-biodegradable regular plastic commonly used as;
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), and Polystyrene or Styrofoam (PS)
- Biodegradable polymers are those which decompose or break down by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae.
- These are naturally relatively quickly to by-products, for example, gases CO2, N2, biomass, etc.
- Biodegradable plastics have additives that permit them to break down faster.
The necessity for Biodegradable Plastic
- Every year, eight million tons of plastic are discarded in the oceans.
- The world’s deeds require change when it comes to single-use plastic.
- Worldwide, we use approximately two million plastic bags every minute. And thrown away after average use of 20 minutes.
- Regular plastics hold carbon. Carbon is released into the atmosphere when the plastic is disposed of and begins to decompose.
- Usually, Standard plastic bags are made from petroleum. However, biodegradable bags are made from plant or organic material.
- They can decompose much faster.
Biodegradable Plastic Benefits the Environment
Biodegradable plastic saves Non-renewable sources of Energy.
- They support conserving petroleum supplies.
- Bioplastics come from natural sources including crops like corn and switchgrass
- This prepares them to conserve non-renewable sources of energy for example petroleum.
Reduces Carbon Emission
- An important reduction in carbon emissions during the manufacturing process.
- The materials used to make biodegradable plastics are plant-based, minimal carbon is emitted during the composting process.
Consumes Less Energy
- The manufacturing process of biodegradable plastics needs little energy.
- They do not require fossil fuels to be recycled.
- The energy requirement is less, the pollution and environmental impact are considerably decreased.
Provides an Eco-Friendly Solution
- Biodegradable plastic products automatically decrease the amount of waste.
- This waste would then be sent to landfills in order to discard them.
- The land areas may be used for agriculture, residence, or industrial applications instead of converting them to landfills.
NOTPLA SEA WEED PACKGING
Post-consumer plastics are converted as a threat to the environment because of their stable and non-biodegradable nature. Notpla is a startup on a mission to make packaging as we understand it vanish naturally. As per the description of designers at Notpla, “the material is completely biodegradable and edible. It may be composted at home in four to six weeks.
- The company began in 2014 with the Ooho product.
- At that time, our edible bubble of water was handmade.
- The company developed the technology to manufacture these as well as developing home compostable coatings and films over the past six years.
- Ooho is a simple packaging for liquids that may be prepared in a range of sizes from 10ml-100ml.
- It is manufactured from extracts from seaweed and plants.
What is Ooho made from?
- Ooho is a packaging material made 100 percent from seaweed and plants.
- It is designed particularly for consumable liquids like water, juices, and sauce sachets.
- Any liquid product is sealed within a gelatinous membrane made from seaweed.
- It is developed by applying sodium alginate found in brown algae and calcium chloride together to create concrete.
- The product is made to be eaten either during or after its use.
- Skipping Rocks Lab is similarly developing a commercial machine designed to produce the product quickly.
Idea from Skipping Rocks Lab
- Skipping Rocks Lab is a modern sustainable packaging company based in London.
- They are first in the use of natural materials extracted from plants and seaweed to make containers with low environmental impact.
- The company has used a method known as spherification to introduce water into a sphere.
- Brown seaweed extract and calcium chloride shape a gel-like structure.
- That performs as an elastic membrane and retains water inside.
- The company has used a second membrane that functions as a hygienic container to protect it.
- We just have to remove it and the remaining sphere is 100% edible.
- We can pop it in our mouth or bite it carefully to drink the liquid it contains.
- In spherification spheres, the balls are created of just about any type of liquid.
- The entire ball might be solid, gel-like when creating small balls.
- The outside tends to be set, whereas the inside is still liquid when creating bigger spheres.
- This is an amazing part when eating.
- The sphere bursts open inside the mouth.
Alginate and Calcium ions
- One of the methods to make spectacular spheres is by using alginate and calcium.
- Calcium is an ion Ca2+.
- Alginate is a complicated longer molecule and is harvested from seaweeds.
- The outer layer has to be made, a gel for a sphere to be formed firm enough.
- Making a gel a large complex molecule generally tends to form a large network that holds the liquid together.
- Alginates are large polysaccharides made up of a long chain of mannuronic & guluronic acid.
- This long chain of molecules by itself cannot form a gel.
- Though, it requires something to structure them in such a way that it holds on to the liquid.
- This is where the calcium ions come in.
- These calcium ions may sit in between two chains of alginate molecules, stabilizing them, see image below.
- The working mechanism of alginate and calcium is the same as that of 2-component glue.
- Just when the two components meet will the glue work.
- Nothing happens as long as they are separate.
- We now understand that we need two components to form our spheres.
- The technique is to keep them isolated until we need them to come together.
- This is happened by dissolving together the components in a watery phase.
- One would be dissolved in the product of which we want to make a sphere, the other is dissolved in water, making a water bath.
- Spheres are formed by dripping balls of the liquid that has to be made into a sphere into the water bath.
- The alginate and calcium ions sitting in the outer layer of the liquid would interact with those present in the water bath.
- This will cause them to form a layer of gel around the sphere.
Basic and reverse Spherification
The alginate and calcium shouldn’t meet before really making the spheres.
- We will not want to add alginate to the mixture if we have a product rich in calcium. This will start the spherification process.
- We should also consider the type of spheres we’re looking for.
- The alginate is the molecule that shapes the gel layer.
- The phase that contains the alginate will make a gel.
- The gel layer will form around the ingredients if the alginate is dissolved in the water bath. This is called reverse spherification.