Biodegradable Plastic From Cactus Juice
Sandra Pascoe Ortiz from Mexico has discovered a method which turns cactus leaves into a material with similar properties to plastic. She wants to replace plastic cutlery, bags and other single-use products. But how does she do it?
- Cut the leaves.
- Peel them.
- Make some cactus juice.
- Leave it in the fridge.
- Add non-toxic formula.
- Laminate and let it dry.
The product is non-toxic and edible both for humans and for animals. When left in soil, the material takes almost one month to biodegrade and just a few days to biodegrade in water.
It is possible to make different colors, shapes and thicknesses of the new material. It can be very smooth, very flexible or more rigid.
Currently the whole procedure takes about 10 days, but according to Sandra, with the help of industrial processes it can be sped up with. The overall system uses entirely renewable resources.
Sandra makes the biodegradable plastic from nopal cactus. However, there are about 300 species of nopal cactus in Mexico, and Sandra is researching to find the best one for making plastic.
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