Good plastic bags and cutlery! A Swedish design student finds a way to reduce plastic consumption using potatoes. His solution to the problem of several million tons of plastic waste that pollutes the environment every year and to disposable material is called "Potato Plastic", an alternative biodegradable and compostable plant-based plastic, aimed above all at the fast food industry .
He is Pontus Törnqvist, 24 years old from Gothenburg, Industrial Design student at Lund University and winner of the Swedish stage of the James Dyson Award 2018. His "potato plastic" consists of a biodegradable material made only of potato and water starch. The mixture heats up until the liquid thickens, then is placed in the molds and heated until it becomes solid.
"Depending on how much fluid is poured into a mold, the material can become a thick, resistant piece or a thin film," explains Pontus.
The resulting material is a kind of thermoplastic - a plastic created by heating that hardens when cooled - which means it can be molded in any shape and, since it is made up only of naturally occurring substances, it takes only two months to decompose.
"We manufacture plastic disposable cutlery capable of withstanding 450 years, while the real period of use is about 20 minutes. Then they end up in the environment and cause damage to entire generations, "says the young designer, whose idea has already attracted the attention of the fast food chains that have come to grips with the recent European Parliament directive that voted the total prohibition of disposable plastic objects starting from 2021.
His assumption is that if a large percentage of plastic circulating in our environment comes from the fast-food industry, we must take the opportunity to adapt their quality to the expected life span. Which means that "the biodegradable qualities of Potato Plastics allow you to use a product only once. After which it decomposes into soil nutrients. Something that is used only once must not be of lasting quality ".
With this system fast-food will be able to use "plastic" products such as cutlery, straws and containers for condiments without leaving a serious environmental impact.
Resistant and flexible like the classic plastic cutlery, those designed by the Swedish student have from them that do not pollute, they last just the time they are needed and they can also eat.
The idea of obtaining plastic from potatoes is not new and in fact there are many videos circulating on the net that invite you to try to make it with a homemade experiment, but that developed by this Swedish designer can certainly find outlets on a large scale. Hopefully soon!