Mexican student invents biodegradable straws from avocado fibres

How’s this for a timely solution? A young guy who probably has eaten his share of avocados has come up with a novel use for them, one that could help reduce plastic waste in general…and the kind that’s clogging up the oceans in particular:

Good news for the Earth: A Mexican student named Scott Munguía, from Guadalajara, discovered that fibres found in the avocado kernel can be processed and converted into biodegradable straws and other disposable materials which are usually made from different types of plastic. This has led to the production of a great quantity of plastic wastes that can take centuries to disintegrate, whereas these products can break down in approximately 240 days.

Biofase is the name of the business Munguía created. Along with straws, it produces disposable cutlery which are also biodegradable, and can be buried as though they were any kind of organic waste, and will go through a process of decomposition similar to the remains of fruits and vegetables, for example.

The company was born in 2012, when Scott Munguía, then a student of chemical engineering in the Technological College of Monterrey, discovered that avocado kernels contained a substance that could be converted into bioplastic. He conducted experiments on the seeds of other fruits, such as mangos and mamey sapotes, but the avocado proved to be the only one that could be used to such ends.

After a year and a half, Munguía succeeded in creating the perfect recipe for his bioplastic, a formula which could extract a molecule from the seed that could be transformed into an easily moldable polymer.

In 2015, Munguía built his first bioplastic plant, the only one of its kind, located in Morelia, Michoacán. He began to sell eco-friendly plastic to other buisnesses, but the began to make objects which could be sold to the public directly. So he began to manufacture straws and cutlery from this ecological plastic. One of the great advantages of this over other biodegradable plastics is that it doesn’t use foods in its production, only wastes (as opposed to, say, biodegradable plastic made from corn).

Currently, Biofase makes 130 tonnes of biodegradable plastic materials, 80% of which are exported to other countries (the United States, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru), and 40% are straws. Munguía explained that the market is difficult, since people aren’t always ready to pay a bit more to protect the planet, but the existence of this valuable project fills us with hope and reminds us of the importance of reducing our use of plastic, a contaminant which has reached alarming levels on the planet.

Translation mine.

So, there you go. A Mexican millennial has taken his generation’s well-known (and much derided) appetite for avocados, and turned it into a world-saving project. Don’t look for anything like it from the idiots who like to lecture his generation on how they’re ruining everything by not doing capitalism right, though.

And definitely don’t look to Donnie for any praise of this young inventor, either. He thinks nothing good comes from any part of Latin America (except, maybe, beauty queens.)

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