The development of alternative materials to plastic continues, with the same usefulness but without its environmental impact. Spain is the cradle of some of these innovations. Researchers from the University of Alicante (UA) have developed a process to obtain a new water-soluble plastic material based on potato starch which, according to those responsible, does not pollute the seas and is suitable for use as packaging.
This plastic material, developed by the research group Waste, Energy, Environment and Nanotechnology (REMAN) of the UA, will be introduced to the market shortly through Solublion, a technology-based company (EBT) of the aforementioned academic institution linked to the Alicante Science Park.
The product is also compostable and biodegradable, making it ideal for use as a flexible film, preferably in bags and packaging.and presents great advantages in relation to the existing ones, as explained by the professor of Chemical Engineering Ignacio Martín Gullón.
Its development arose from the thesis of the now president and CEO of Solublion, Daniel Domene López, entitled “Thermoplastic starch for the development of environmentally sustainable materials”.
This thesis reveals the intention that this new material represents an important contribution to mitigate the impact caused by the mismanagement of conventional plastic waste, since it It does not create an environmental problem at the end of its useful life if it ends up in natural ecosystems.
According to Domene López, it is estimated that Before the pandemic, 370 million tons of plastic materials were consumed worldwide, a figure that they estimate may exceed 400 million in the coming years due to the increase in single-use packaging and materials.
Of all of them, before the pandemic, only two million were biodegradable plastics and the estimate suggests that by the end of this decade there will already be eight million tons of biodegradable plastics demanded by consumers.
The plastic developed by the REMAN group has high stability and a low migration rate, according to the UA in a press release.
“Our solutions are oriented towards their use in the packaging industry and single-use plastic products, as a direct replacement for conventional alternatives. In addition, our patented technology allows us to offer a wide variety of mechanical features, allowing us to adjust our products to the needs of our customers”, pointed out Martín Gullón.