Our planted has been polluted with plastic. It’s used in just about everything from beverage bottles to take out containers. Wheat Straw Plastic however, looks destined to change all that.
Wheat is often thought of to make bread, flour or wheat-gluten. Wheat Straw Plastic is made from what’s leftover once the wheat is harvested. Using this natural leftover polymer in plastic production is an ideal zero-waste option.
The new bioplastic is made from lignin, it’s that rigid material that keeps trees and plants standing. By breaking down the lignin into cellulose we create the opportunity to make different kinds of polymers. These natural polymers are large bonds and are strong building blocks to create molds to produce every day plastic products. These same polymers are also found in our skin, nails and hair.
This natural polymer when combined with sugar (instead of oil) produces our new bioplastic. Impressive and proven to be extremely versatile the wheat straw plastic can be used for many different kinds of products. In effect, replacing toxic, more traditional plastic products with far more eco-friendly replacements. Since plastic is very durable and heat-resistant (resisting temperatures up to 200 degrees), it’s an ideal material to make all kinds of every day products.
To start, these new plates, cutlery, cups, food containers, and straws are a great replacement for single use products since there’s no need to dig up our recourses or destroy forests. These products also decompose naturally, and only take 3 to 6 months to fully replenish back to our earth. (As opposed to normal plastic which takes anywhere from 20 to 1000 years.)
In addition, since these products are completely natural, when decomposed, it’s a great resource for fertilizer.
Likewise, this new plastic requires less energy to produce, being all natural. The oil used in traditional plastic products is replaced with natural sugars from say, sugar beet crops. The lignin natural fibers are versatile enough to make limitless and fantastic new products.
It’s no less versatile than regular plastic either. A bit of tweaking by scientists, this new bioplastic can be rigid or bendable. It can also be made into a clear film for various types of food packaging. (Can you say “plastic bottles”? YES!)
Plastic straws have also garnered negative and warranted attention. It’s the most common way plastic gets into our food supply – simply because there are so many used each day. While steal and silicone straws are often used for personal use, they’re not a viable option for restaurants and large catering functions. Plastic, all-natural Wheat Straws provide the exact same look and feel, and make a perfect replacement for single use straws.
Yep, biodegradable straws.
Thing is, just 10 years ago, none of this was even possible. This natural lignin to form bioplastic is fairly new. The technology has advanced at such a rapid pace through gene editing to improve yields while decreasing the time it takes to produce – we’re now looking at mass production of this new plastic replacement.
Just 5% of the annual straw yield and 3% of sugar beet crops would produce 8.5 billion plastic bottles. Essentially half the plastic water bottles used in the UK in recent years.
While still in its infancy, the list of products being replaced with this all-natural resource continues to grow. It’s exciting to see, and Our Shared Earth will be exited to offer them as they roll out right here on our site.
The menace of plastic waste is choking our oceans, endangering wildlife and entering the food chain. This new form or “natural plastic”, Wheat Straw Plastic a great alternative for now – but we hope it quickly becomes the norm rather than the exception.