An alternative to single-use plastic extracted from algae

Chilean designer Margarita Talep has developed the prototype of a sustainable biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic based on agar, a substance extracted from Japanese algae.

Image credits: Margarita Talep

The material is designed to biodegrade autonomously and can replace many of the single-use plastics currently used for packaging dry foods such as pasta and biscuits.

The packaging is produced by heating the algae mixed with water to a temperature of 80°C, to which dyes extracted from the skins of fruits and vegetables can be added to obtain the desired colour.

Image credits: Margarita Talep

To create the packaging, the gel is poured into a mould and allowed to dry, after which it takes on the form and consistency of a plastic film.

The flexibility and thickness of the film can be varied according to the percentage of algae in the mixture and the packaging can be sealed with heat to avoid the need for glue.

The bioplastic packaging has a lifetime of 2 months in summer and 3 months in winter, after which it undergoes a natural biodegradation process.


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