A London-based startup has created a new plastic alternative for sauce packets from seaweed — which is both biodegradable and fully-edible — with aims to help reduce the 300 million tons of plastic waste humans create every year, according to an initial report from Business Insider.
Startup makes fully-edible 'plastic' sauce packets with seaweed
Called Notpla, the startup has created a plastic-like casing capable of biodegrading within four to six weeks — a farter shorter timespan than the several hundred years synthetic plastics take to fully biodegrade, Science Alert reports.
The novel membrane consists of seaweed farmed in the idyllic region of northern France. The seaweed is dried and grounded into a fine powder, and then transformed via a (secret) recipe into a viscous, gloopy fluid — which dries to coalesce into a plastic-like substance.
Startup's seaweed can grow up to 3 feet per day
The company saw a meteoric rise to fame five years ago — when its edible water pods people can swallow after use became popular with runners amid the London Marathon, along with other events.
Seaweed is a much more eco-friendly substance than starch-based options because unlike the latter, seaweed doesn't need land or time to grow in spades.
"It's one of the resources that is the most abundant," Notpla Cofounder Rodrigo Garcia said. "One of the seaweeds we use grows up to 1 meter [3.3 ft] per day. Can you imagine something growing that fast? You don't need fertilizer, you don't need to put water on it, and it's a resource that we have been using a long time."
Seaweed packages sold wholesale to businesses prioritizing eco-friendly products
Later in 2020, Notpla plans to launch yet another line of disposable food containers — which have no synthetic chemicals, in addition to a waterproof and greaseproof lining all around them.
Notably, the startup's cardboard totally decomposes in three to six weeks — once again much more quickly than the three months untreated cardboard needs, let alone the hundreds of years required for cardboard lined with the plastic called PLA, reports Science Alert.
"What we've done is replace the PLA with our natural material, so even if it does enter nature, it will degrade naturally like a piece of fruit or vegetable," said Notpla's Projects and Business Manager Juno Wilson to Business Insider on Thursday.
While Notpla's pricing isn't public, it sells products wholesale to businesses whose customers prioritize eco-friendly credentials. Strange but deeply satisfying, the most pervasive advances in combatting the effects of climate change will come with consumer incentives, placing the option to try alternatives or not in the personal horizon.