Bioplastic: It’s a common part of any environmental sustainability conversation, but what is it,exactly? Bioplastics are an emerging “green” solution, comprised of biodegradable materials from renewable sources to replace standard plastic. Why is bioplastic vital to our planet’s future? Its plastic predecessor is one of the greatest threats to Earth’s environmental sustainability. Since plastic was widely introduced in the 1950’s, 9.1 billion tons have been produced, 91 percent of which hasn’t been recycled and still exists in some form to this day. What’s more, 8.8 million metric tons ends up in our oceans every year. If you want to join the fight to save our planet, bioplastics are a great place to start. The best part? You can easily make it yourself a variety of ways, including by following these five steps:
- Gather Ingredients& Materials
- 1 ml of white vinegar
- 10 ml of distilled water
- 1.5 g of cornstarch
- 0.5-1.5 g of glycerol (aka glycerine)
- 1-2 drops of food coloring (optional, based on color preference)
- Silicone spatula
- Aluminum foil or parchment paper
- Combine Ingredients
Mix all of your ingredients in your saucepan (in no particular order) minus the optional food coloring. Then stir with your silicone spatula, ensuring the mixture is smooth and has no lumps.
- Heat the Mixture
Place saucepan on medium low heat and stir continuously. Mixture will come to a gentle boil and begin to thicken and takes on a translucent hue. This will take 10- to 15 minutes; if lumps start forming in your mixture, you have overheated it. Want to add the optional food coloring?Do so at the first sign of boiling.
- Pour the Mixture
Spread your aluminum foil or parchment paper on an open surface and spread the mixture over it carefully, as it will be very hot. Pop any bubbles that rise with a toothpick and, if you want to mold it into a specific shape, do so before it cools.
- Let it Set
Now the hard part is done and all you have to do is wait! If you want to form your plastic to make a simple shape, like a small bowl or cup, let it cool for two hours and mold it like you would clay or Play-Doh. Place your bioplastic in a cool, dry place for up to two days, until it has cooled and hardened entirely—thicker molds will take longer.
While this may not erase the harm plastics have already done to our environment, we can change our habits for the future. Bioplastics are an integral aspect of environmental sustainability and, by taking these simple five steps to create your own today, you’re joining our mission for a greener tomorrow. Looking for more ways to make your home or business “green”? Contact the professionals at Russell Reid to get started.