Global Waste Management: Plastic from Avocado pits

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You probably have used plastic containers, spoons, knives or forks for take away dinners. Now multiply it by thousands of restaurants. It takes millions of years for such plastic to decompose. It clog water bodies and harms aquatic life. The solution to this has been found by a factory that is turning waste avocado pits into bioplastic. The factory makes spoons, knives and forks from waste avocado pits.
On an average, Americans consume 6 billion avocados in a year. It produces a lot of inedible waste. Now a company has developed an innovative process to create bioplastic from avocado pits. Bioplastics like these could help to reduce pollution because they break down faster and use less fossil fuels. But how they are made and disposed of determines if they really are a cleaner alternative.
Mexico exports about half of the world’s avocados. A single worker at a plantation can cut over 800 pounds of fruit per day. Many of these avocados are shipped whole but some are pitted and processed locally. The factory produces ready to eat guacamole and salsa. Earlier it tried to compost the avocado scraps, but it did not work. Avocado pits contain certain oils which made the process complicated. So now they sell their seeds to Biofase.
Bioplastics are what we call products that are mostly made of biological substances. The process starts with the avocado seeds that have been washed at the supplying factory. As the seeds are churned into a machine, it turns into a bioplastic resin that’s ready to withstand a lot of heat. What comes out of the other side is a malleable sheet that can be moulded and cut into different shapes.
Studies have shown that bioplastics are an improvement over traditional plastics. They contain fewer toxic chemicals. But bioplastics require special industrial facilities to properly compost and they can contaminate the regular recycling stream. They are also more expensive than traditional plastic. It can take upto a year for bioplastics to break down in natural conditions for decomposition. It is much shorter than conventional plastic items some of which will stick around for hundreds of years. Using bioplastics over traditional plastic is a step towards a sustainable living.

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