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Oct 4, 2020

Beyond Plastic Series

Precious Plastic is looking into the future researching materials that can replace plastic altogether. Learn about bioplastics & biodegradable materials.

A hand holding a biodegradable bowl
A Biodegradable Bowl
This article is part of Precious Plastic, a One Army project tackling the plastic waste problem. You can learn more

In our ideal world we stop producing new plastic, recycle all the plastic we already made so far and then slowly introduce new replacement materials. So a research project we have been running on the side of Precious Plastic is called Beyond Plastic. Trying to find out what the future of plastic could look like.  Precious Plastic is focussed on recycling, Beyond Plastic is looking into replacement materials.

Materials that naturally biodegrade and don’t have a negative impact on our environment. Working with organic materials like wheat-bran, coffee, oranges, tea leaves, there is basically a whole world of materials to play with. There is still a lot to figure out and explore! We just made a first small attempt.

Biodegradable bowl taken out of the mould
Biodegradable bowl taken out of the mould

The Machine

We developed a machine that only uses heat and pressure to form shapes. Using the right recipe (material, heat and time) you can form an object in a mould. We’ve made a few bowls that can be used to eat from at festivals. You can eat the bowl. Tastes bad though. But the more important thing about it being edible is that it means it can naturally biodegrade.And by using different recipes and different moulds you can create many other objects. We share this information, technical drawings, moulds as always open source online in our academy. For the community to use and build upon, like Precious Plastic Monash is setting up a subdivision and Mark is selling the press on our bazar. To get started yourself we’ve created three videos that will guide you through the topic.

Stack of biodegradable bowls.

Video 1 - Why?

We explain you what bio and biodegradable plastics means and why we work on this project.

Video 2 - Build Machine

Here we show you step by step how to build the machine with tips and tricks.

Video 3 - Make a bowl

We are going to talk about different materials and make a few edible bowls!

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Biodegradable materials are super cool! Join the conversation on Discord if this is your jam. Next you could watch this Monthly News to see how this project came together, or take a second to think how clean the planet would be if products were designed from biodegradable materials. Let's work towards it!