The research, led by Mexico’s University of Valle de Atemajac in Zapopan, have developed this cactus-based bioplastic, choosing the prickly pear cactus (or nopal cactus, as it’s also known) due to its balanced mix of natural chemicals.
This groundbreaking new substance starts to break down after sitting in the soil for just one month, and when left in water, it depletes in a matter of days. Moreover, this cactus-based single-use plastic alternative isn’t manufactured using crude oils.
In conversation with Forbes, Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, the research professor responsible for developing the substance, explained:
“There were some publications that spoke of different materials with which biodegradable plastics could be made, including some plants.
In this case, the nopal cactus has certain chemical characteristics with which I thought it could be feasible to obtain a polymer, that if it was combined with some other substances, all of them natural, a non-toxic biodegradable plastic would be obtained.”
With up to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans every year, this incredible innovation could help us save our marine life while working towards a healthier, greener existence for future generations.
Read the full story at Forbes.