The industry of flower pots made of plastic materials is slowly moving toward the use of more eco-friendly materials that are not harming the environment.
Beside the fact that the plastics industry consumes oil for production, plastic materials degrade very slowly in the environment, compromising lands, waterways and even the oceans.
The new flower pots are made of bioplastic, which replaces the oil required in the production process of the plastic materials with waste produced by the legume industry.
Vegetal proteins and fibers are extracted from the legumes waste and are mixed with a biopolymer producing a compost material that is eco-friendly.
The environmentally friendly material obtained this way is now used to produce new flower pots, which are not producing any harm to the environment because they degrade in nature easily.
The food industry in Europe discards millions of tonnes of vegetable residue and legumes every year, and a team of Italian scientists have decided to use these leftovers to produce a bioplastic that is considered an innovative and eco-friendly material.
Green waste obtained from peas, beans or other types of lentils receive a chance to experience a new life in a flower pot that is biodegradable.
Eleonora Umiltà, chemist at SSICA in Italy (Stazione Sperimentale Per L’Industria Delle Conserve Alimentari) stated that the fibers extracted from the legumes waste are used to produce composite materials, while the proteins serve as the base for a future bioplastic.
The final protein extract contains some residual salts, but the concentration of protein is around 80%.
Simona Bronco, technical manager at the LEGUVAL project / IPCF (Institute for the Chemical and Physical Processes) says that the purity of the protein component is very important because it helps improve the performance and the characteristics of the final material, which is the bioplastic.
The final material consists of granules, representing a renewable resource because unlike oil, the area of use is much wider (from food packaging to agriculture).
The granules are produced in another research center (a project partner in Slovenia).
The granules of bioplastic are molted before being injected into a mold.
The flower pots obtained are fully biodegradable and compostable (they provide nutrients for the plants and soil).
The future of bioplastic looks very promising with these eco-friendly flower pots, and the innovation will continue, especially in sectors like agriculture and food packaging.
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