The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
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:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The federal government is looking into the details from the longest running oil spill in U.S. history, and it's looking far worse than the oil rig owner let on, as The New York Times reported.
By Tara Lohan
When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.
A searing heat wave has begun to spread across Europe, with Germany, France and Belgium experiencing extreme temperatures that are set to continue in the coming days.
In the 1980s, a Greenlandic subsistence hunter shot and killed a whale with bizarre features unlike any he had ever seen before. He knew something was unique about it, so he left its abnormally large skull on top of his toolshed where it rested until a visiting professor happened upon it a few years later.