Study shows biodegradable plastic bags still hold groceries 3 years after being discarded

May 1, 2019 by  
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Biodegradable plastic bags are not as eco-friendly as their labeling might suggest. A new study discovered that these biodegradable plastics can actually survive years in various environments without fully decomposing. Researchers examined different types of biodegradable plastic bags and found that they were still intact after spending three years in the ground, water and air environments. In fact, the bags were still able to carry groceries without tearing. The study was recently published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. The scientists believe their research indicates that biodegradable plastic bags might not be a viable substitute for single-use plastics, because the rate of degradation is much longer than previously thought. Considering the growing concern surrounding plastic waste , the study could have significant impacts on the industry. Related: A guide to the different types of plastic “After three years, I was really amazed that any of the bags could still hold a load of shopping,” lead researcher Imogen Napper explained. “For biodegradable bags to be able to do that was the most surprising.” Researchers examined five types of plastic bags. This includes biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable, compostable and high-density polyethylene (conventional plastic) bags. The only bag that fully decomposed in marine environments was the compostable bag , which completely disappeared within three months. The reason the compostable bags did not perform well in the other environments is that they are designed to break down in the presence of micro-organisms. If they are buried in soil that lacks these organisms, the bags will not break down properly. In light of the study, the company that makes the compostable bags, Vegware, issued a statement about how its bags will only decompose in the right environment, which is what the product was designed to do. Based on the findings, experts believe the general public is being misled when it comes to biodegradable plastic bags and that companies should be required to change their labeling to reflect the reality of the situation. + Environmental Science & Technology Via The Guardian Images via Imogen Napper

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Study shows biodegradable plastic bags still hold groceries 3 years after being discarded

Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics

March 15, 2019 by  
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Four design students from The Royal College of Art and Imperial College have created a biodegradable and recyclable bioplastic using an unusual material — lobster shell waste. In an initiative dubbed Shellworks , the team — Ed Jones, Insiya Jafferjee, Amir Afshar and Andrew Edwards — has developed new manufacturing machines to produce what they believe is a sustainable replacement for single-use plastics. The malleable bioplastic is extremely versatile and can be adjusted in thickness, transparency, flexibility and stiffness to create a variety of biodegradable objects. The critical ingredient in the Shellworks’ bioplastic is chitlin, the world’s second most abundant biopolymer naturally found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and insects. Rather than purchase chitlin, an expensive material on its own, the team opted to built a custom small-scale extractor as well as three custom manufacturing machines — the Dippy, a heated dip molder to create 3D forms; the Vaccy, a steam-heated vacuum former for making molded packaging; and the Sheety, a sheet-forming device for creating controlled flat sheets — that each take advantage of a specific material property for different applications. Prototypes have ranged from antibacterial blister packaging to self-fertilizing plant pots. Since the beginning, product recyclability has stayed at the forefront of Shellworks’ design objectives. Thus, the team steered clear of additives during experimentation and discovered that they could manipulate the bioplastic’s properties by adjusting the ratios of the base ingredients. The highly versatile and recyclable material can be easily turned from a solid back to the original bioplastic solution or used as a natural, non-polluting fertilizer at the end of its lifecycle. Related: Reebok develops plant-based sneakers made of cotton and corn The Shellworks team said, “By designing scalable manufacturing processes, applications tailored to the material and eco-positive waste streams, we believe we can demonstrate how chitosan bioplastic could become a viable alternative for many of the plastic products we use today.” + Shellworks Images via Shellworks

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Shellworks upcycles leftover lobster shells into biodegradable bioplastics

LEGO is rolling out their first plant-based plastic pieces

March 5, 2018 by  
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Plants from plants: that’s LEGO’s description for their first sustainable bricks . They’ll be rolling out botanical elements like trees, leaves, and bushes manufactured with plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane this year. The move is part of their goal to utilize only sustainable materials in their packaging and core products by 2030. LEGO is utilizing plastic polyethylene based on sugarcane material: specifically, ethanol . LEGO Group Environmental Responsibility vice president Tim Brooks said plant-based polyethylene possesses the same properties as regular polyethylene, so kids and parents probably won’t notice a difference in the look and quality of the new bricks. Related: Build your own BIG-designed LEGO House with LEGO Architecture’s newest kit What does the term ‘sustainable material’ mean to LEGO? According to the company, “The LEGO Group believes a new sustainable material must have an ever-lighter footprint than the material it replaces across key environmental and social impact areas such as fossil resource use, human rights , and climate change .” The sugarcane is sustainably sourced, according to the company, “in accordance with guidance from the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance ,” which is a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative. It’s also “certified by the Bonsucro Chain of Custody Standard .” LEGO partnered with WWF “to support and build demand for sustainably sourced plastic” and joined the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance. Give your biggest "green" to the very FIRST #sustainable LEGO Bricks! LEGO botanical elements including leaves and trees will now be made from sugarcane-based plastic.The first “greens” are to appear in LEGO sets later this year. Sweeet? #PlantsfromPlants https://t.co/rZKijykjYO pic.twitter.com/yraEOLq5NM — LEGO (@LEGO_Group) March 1, 2018 LEGO’s press release did not include information on recycling the sustainable bricks; but The Guardian said the bioplastic could be recycled several times, although it’s probably not 100 percent biodegradable . As of now, polyethylene elements comprise one to two percent of all the plastic elements produced by the company. The sustainable trees, bushes and leaf pieces will be comprised entirely of plant-based plastic, and they will pop up in LEGO boxes in 2018. Brooks said, “This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all LEGO bricks using sustainable materials.” + LEGO Images courtesy of LEGO

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Undulae turns cornstarch-based bioplastic into stylish lamps

March 21, 2016 by  
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Undulae is a series of table and pendant lamps made of cornstarch-based bioplastic tubes. The project explored various combinations of ingredients in order to understand the strength and behavior of bioplastic in its drying process. The end result was a mixture of cornstarch, water, vinegar, and glycerin, which was spread on a sheet of parchment paper, placed under a shape-forming pipe, then covered with another sheet to make a sandwiched unit. The unit was then held between two pipes on either side of its longitudinal edges. When the bioplastic was left to dry, it shrunk to create creases on the parchment paper which imprinted unique textures on the surface of the newly formed tubes. Read the rest of Undulae turns cornstarch-based bioplastic into stylish lamps

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Undulae turns cornstarch-based bioplastic into stylish lamps

20 bizarre examples of Icelandic design using surprising materials like seaweed, fish skin and cow bladder

March 21, 2016 by  
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20 bizarre examples of Icelandic design using surprising materials like seaweed, fish skin and cow bladder

Clever staircase doubles as a bookcase in a small London home

March 21, 2016 by  
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When Tamir Addadi Architecture was approached to convert a loft in a London home into a bedroom that could accommodate a large library, the architects knew they would need to take creative space-saving measures. One such space-spacing project came in the creation of the loft’s new staircase . To maximize use of space, the open-tread staircase doubles as a bookcase that runs along the side of the stairs. The simple structural design allows natural light to penetrate through the structure and was assembled on-site within a few days. + Tamir Addadi Architecture The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Undulae lamps are made out of cornstarch-based bioplastic

August 17, 2015 by  
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Undulae is a series of table and pendant lamps made of cornstarch-based bioplastic tubes. To create each lamp, a bioplastic mixture of cornstarch, water, vinegar and glycerin is spread on a sheet of parchment paper with another sheet on top to make a sandwiched unit. This unit is then held with two pipes along the longitudinal edges with another pipe inside to keep the drying unit in place. When the bioplastic is left to dry, it shrinks and drips to create beautifully organic shapes. The table lamp uses a singular tube standing upright, while the hanging pendant lamp uses multiple tubes with the light bulb placed at the center. + TN/MOS The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Undulae lamps are made out of cornstarch-based bioplastic

Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park

March 9, 2015 by  
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Every day, Hiriya sorts 3,000 tons of household waste, 1,500 tons of construction debris and 250 tons of landscape matter, and transforms it into fuel, fertilizer, electricity, water for irrigation, and even garden furniture, in what may be one of the greatest landfill transformations the world has ever seen. Read on to learn how Hiriya is decreasing its carbon impact on the environment each day, with the help of landscape architect and urban planner Peter Latz and his visionary design that has turned trash into treasure. Read the rest of Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Ariel Sharon , ariel sharon park , Ayalon park , Ben Gurion International Airport , biogas , bioplastic , crap mountain , design competitions , garbage mountain , hiriya , hiriya landfill , international parks , Israel , landfills , largest recycling facility in the world , peter latz , peter latz landscape architecture , public parks , recycling facility , Tel Aviv , transfer station , urban planning , world’s largest recycling plant

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Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park

Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park

February 2, 2015 by  
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Every day, Hiriya sorts 3,000 tons of household waste, 1,500 tons of construction debris and 250 tons of landscape matter, and transforms it into fuel, fertilizer, electricity, water for irrigation, and even garden furniture, in what may be one of the greatest landfill transformations the world has ever seen. Read on to learn how Hiriya is decreasing its carbon impact on the environment each day, with the help of landscape architect and urban planner Peter Latz and his visionary design that has turned trash into treasure. Read the rest of Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Ariel Sharon , ariel sharon park , Ayalon park , Ben Gurion International Airport , biogas , bioplastic , crap mountain , design competitions , garbage mountain , hiriya , hiriya landfill , international parks , Israel , landfills , largest recycling facility in the world , peter latz , peter latz landscape architecture , public parks , recycling facility , Tel Aviv , transfer station , urban planning , world’s largest recycling plant

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Tel Aviv’s notorious ‘Garbage Mountain’ transforms into world’s largest recycling park

Mazda unveils exterior car parts made from plants!

December 15, 2014 by  
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Ford already uses plants like tomatoes to make several parts for the interiors of its vehicles and now Mazda has announced that it has furthered the technology to produce exterior car parts. Mazda’s new plant-derived bioplastic is just as durable as conventional painted plastic parts and will debut next year on the 2016 Mazda MX-5. Read the rest of Mazda unveils exterior car parts made from plants! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bioplastic , green car , green transportation , Mazda , mazda bioplastic , mazda mx-5 , mitsubishi , plant-derived materials , plant-derived plastic

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