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Could this new material save us from plastic pollution ?

© Catherine Sheila/Pexels

Plastic pollution is a scourge that has gotten out of control. According to WWF: “ Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans“, making this phenomenon one of the most glaring examples of the effects of human activity on ecosystems. In addition to the obvious decontamination that this situation requires, the search for an alternative to this material is also a subject of active investigation.

On April 3, 2024, a team of researchers published the results of their work in this area in the journal RSC Sustainability. They have succeeded in developing a surprising material: bioplastic granules made from egg shells.

A bioplastic to clean water and fertilize soil

These granules are not only biodegradable. According to scientists, they also act as absorbers of pollutants, notably phosphates, present in certain surface waters, a global health security issue.

These bioplastic pellets, made from natural, biodegradable materials, decompose naturally in the soil returning nutrients, closing the loop on the material's life cycle and minimizing its environmental impact. Indeed, the latter are composed of wheat straw, marine polysaccharides and eggshells. By decomposing, they then return nutrients to crops and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and inputs.

But the interest in this bioplastic does not stop there. By absorbing phosphate, these granules could be used forextract it from groundwater , thus making it possible to harvest it without resorting to mining, the researchers explain. The latter is a non-renewable resource and its exploitation poses environmental problems: destruction of natural habitats, aquatic pollution, waste production, etc.

Above all, unlike conventional plastics which fragment into polluting microplastics, this material decomposes entirely, thus limiting the contamination of our water and our food.

So we are now waiting to see if this material will prove viable if produced on a large scale. In any case, this discovery remains a positive step forward in the quest for alternative solutions to plastic, this material that was considered a real miracle in the 1950s, and which is now literally suffocating us.

  • Researchers have developed a new type of bioplastic.
  • It is made of eggshells, wheat straw and marine polysaccharides.
  • Thanks to its design, it can depollute water and fertilize soil.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116