This Company Has a Genius Solution for Discarded Avocado Pits
In Mexico, a startup has found an innovative way to deal with the tons of avocado pits that producers discard every day.
Michoacan-based Biofase, located in the heart of Mexico's avocado industry, is transforming the dense seeds into disposable drinking straws and cutlery that are said to be 100 percent biodegradable.
The company was founded in 2013 by biochemical engineer Scott Munguia, who patented a process to turn discarded avocado pits into bioplastics that reportedly degrade after 240 days.
As Mexico Daily News explained, Munguia figured out how to extract a molecular compound from a pit to obtain a biopolymer that could be molded into any shape.
"Our family of biodegradable resins can be processed by all conventional methods of plastic molding," the company tweeted.
Today, the operation goes through 15 metric tons of avocado seeds a day to make the items, according to Mexico Daily News.
Munguia's technology is a win-win that tackles agricultural waste as well as the mounting volumes of plastic waste accumulating in landfills, oceans and other bodies of water.
"The whole world is changing—people are starting to ask for this," Munguia told Reuters, but noted that the main obstacle is the cost of producing bioplastics.
Although bioplastics have some flaws (some varieties contain traditional fossil-fuel plastics), a growing number of municipal bans on single-use plastics have led to an increased demand for eco-friendlier alternatives.
In 2017, Querétaro became the first municipality in Mexico to outlaw plastic bags. Tijuana also voted last year to phase out plastic bags.
Across the country, "more than 15 initiatives, laws and regulations at the state and municipal levels, seek to reduce the consumption of disposable plastics," according to Dolores Barrientos, UN Environment representative in Mexico.
Biofase is the only biopolymers producer company in Mexico, the company website states. It's now the leading producer of biopolymers in Latin America and its products are sent to more than 11 countries.
Customers include chain restaurants such as Fiesta Americana, P. F. Chang's China Bistro and Chili's Grill & Bar, Mexico Daily News reported.
Check out this video to learn more about the company:
By 2018 Ocean Heroes: Claire MacQueen (13 years old), Sabine Thomas (13) and Ava Inskeep (14)
We despise single-use plastics. We want to keep our oceans and our beaches clean. Early last year I (Claire) lived in India for several months and became curious about plastic waste, as it was much more visible in India than back home in the U.S. Seeing all the plastic waste while I was visiting helped me to understand that much of the trash produced by the U.S. actually ends up in developing countries, like India, which does not have a proper waste management system like we do at home, which causes a ton of trash to end up in waterways and the ocean.
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