At a time when war has been declared on single-use plastic products, BIOFASE makes biodegradable cutlery from a very abundant Mexican agricultural by-product: avocado stones.
Not only bio sourced and biodegradable but also made from agro-industrial waste.Mexico is the world's leading producer and exporter of avocados. The boom in international demand, particularly from North America and Europe, has increased Mexican production - and the prices - of this fruit. It’s called "green gold"!
Biodegradable plastic can now be produced from avocado stones, which takes it right into the circular economy.
This is the idea the founder of BIOFASE, Scott Munguia, came up with during his studies as a chemical engineer at the prestigious Tecnológico university in Monterrey.
After several months of research, he managed to obtain a polymer that would make biodegradable products, and developed an industrial manufacturing process to go with it. A few years later, he founded his own company. It produces bio-sourced avocado stone-based disposable straws and cutlery in the state of Michoacán, the world’s avocado capital.
BIOFASE works with companies that process avocados - manufacturers of guacamole and avocado oil, for example - by collecting their waste stones. They are crushed to obtain a thermoplastic resin from which straws and cutlery are made.
Biodegradable in 240 daysThe finished product is composed of 60% avocado stone bio-plastic, which decomposes in 240 days in the presence of moisture, heat and microorganisms. Usually, these stones end up being incinerated or sent to landfill without being recycled in any way.
BIOFASE products are therefore not only bio-based and biodegradable, they are also made from a readily available source of agro-industrial waste, unlike agricultural raw materials (corn, potatoes, etc.). This is really interesting from the point of view of sustainable development.
BIOFASE thereby helps reduce the amount of plastic produced from petroleum, and adds value to a resource that is abundant in Mexico. The proof, if any more were needed, that there is no shortage of alternatives to plastic.
Main picture © Veolia © Noémie Rosset