A Michoacán company called Biofase has found a way to produce biodegradable plastic alternatives.
As plastic pollution continues to wreak havoc all over the world, several environmental groups are pushing for the eradication of single-use plastics, which make up the bulk of plastic waste in the world.
During this crucial time, Mexico-based company Biofase introduced eco-friendly plastic alternatives made of avocado pits in the market.
The company manufactures biodegradable straws made out of avocado seeds using a process whose beginnings dates back from 2012.
At the time, company founder Scott Mungía was still a chemical engineering student who was motivated to solve pollution problems. He was looking for a reliable source for biodegradable plastic.
He first tested the properties of raw materials such as mango and mamey sapote seeds, until he hit upon avocado seeds.
After over a year and a half of research, Mungía found an effective method of extracting a molecular compound from the avocado pit and obtaining a biopolymer which can be molded into any shape desired. That’s when the avocado-based bioplastic was born.
The company claims that their bioplastic products biodegrade after 240 days of being exposed to the elements or buried in the ground, as compared with their fossil-fuel based counterparts that could take more than 100 years to degrade.
In 2013, Mungía patented the process and founded Biofase. After two years, he built his first plant in Morelia where eco-friendly plastics are being manufactured to be sold as raw material.
In 2016, the young entrepreneur decided to start producing his own bioplastic-based products in another plant. He initially manufactured plastic cutlery before adding plastic straws to his product line.
Months into the production, the engineer has come to realize that changing people’s old habits were far from easy.
“People are still reluctant to pay more for [a product] that protects the environment,” he said.
Despite this challenge, production continues in the Morelia plant which yields 130 tonnes of biodegradable plastic products monthly, 40% of which are straws.
80% of the company’s products are exported to the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Perú.
Biofase’s principal clients are restaurants such as Fiesta Americana, P. F. Chang’s China Bistro, and Chili’s Grill & Bar rather than consumers.
Watch the video below to learn more about the company.