“Bioplastics” is most often used to describe all sort of things: bio-based, compostable and/or bio-degradable. That’s why I prefer to use the more specific terms.
All a bioplastic really is is a “A type of biodegradable plastic derived from biological substances rather than petroleum.”
So, if it’s biodegradable, it replaces plastic, it doesn’t have petroleum in it and it’s made with biological means, then it’s a bioplastic.
We don’t want people to litter or dump. In Belgium, we even forbade to put the claim “biodegradable” on packaging, because we found out this encourages people to litter (they honestly think it’s best for the environment)! Since biodegradation still takes a lot of time (when testing, it may take up to 24 months), the litter stays as visual pollution and thus attracts more littering if it is not cleaned up.
In America–and probably a lot of other places–people are going to litter either way. Putting biodegradable on it isn’t going to help or hurt, because most people don’t read labels. Those who do are smart enough to not just litter. The litter stays for decades here dude, 24 months would be a godsend to my city. Finding bottles and cans older than me is a common occurrence here…
Who has a compost pile in his garden where the temperature is that high for at least 10 days in a row?? The claim “home compostable” puts the temperature at 20-30 degrees during 6 months, which is a much more realistic concept.
Plenty of people, especially in the summer. All ya gotta do is save up lots of materials in the proper ratios, make a five foot by eight foot chicken wire ring, and make all your compost for the year in three weeks… And it’ll be much better, as it’ll be properly decomposed, as opposed to being in various states… might be more of a pita, but people do it sometimes too.
Also–here in Philly at least–the city already has a composting pile, and I’m sure it stays hot, its huge… So it could all just get thrown in there too…
I guess I didn’t completely get your process the first time. If I understand correctly, the mushroom is the material (and not, as most bio-based plastics: the mushroom/bacteria/… produces the plastic)? Do you have any indication on how fast this could be produced? Anything realistic for a company like Fairphone to produce on an industrial scale? I’m quite interested!
As a matter of speaking, I would avoid calling this material a bio-plastic. Plastics generally have a bad reputation, but this could be something very different.
At first I was just gonna start by playing with this stuff and modeling, but eventually you’d wanna come up with your own novelty strains probably. They’re all just various nolvety strains of mushrooms, grown on different media, in various conditions, to produce various specs.
the mycellium colonizes the media, consumes it, and then you bake it to kill the biology, shape it, paint it, and finish it with some sort of water protectant if needed. There’s actually a material very similar to leather I was thinking I could skin it with–also made from mycellium.
No, the mycellium is the plastic. dead interwoven hyphae. To the lay person, mushroom roots, though that is a bit of a missnomer.
So, to be clear, a bioplastic does not have any polymers derived from petroleum in it, by definition. Instead it uses biology to grow materials with very similar properties of plastics.
I have no idea how fast you could produce once scaled. And it for large scale production you’d need lighting–more energy–but I don’t think very much. I was envisioning a production model with lots of light tubes, or possibly just in hoop houses/hoop houses with shade clothes, so the lighting would only run for hours each day, and only during certain months. Production speeds could also be upped with lighting. I was planning to test how fast these things grow in the sun, on a window sill. I was also going to do one under a CFL bulb.
Biodegradable: in theory, these should fall apart into CO2, methane, water and some biomass if left alone in the environment. It can take long (e.g. a test may take up to 24 months), but not as long as “normal” plastics. This also causes controversy: a heavy branch is not biodegradable, because it takes too long to disappear…
Biodegradable simply means capable of being broken down by biological agents. Plastic is not biodegradable because the only things that break it down are time or energy. Essentially, nothing eats plastic.
There is no time limit on how long something takes to biodegrade. The question of biodegradability has to do with how it’s broken down, not how long it takes. Also it could break down into potassium, or phospherous, or zinc, or all sorts of other stuff. Bones break down into calcium and c02, with very little methane, for example.
A heavy branch is clearly biodegradable. It is broken down by fungus–mostly–as well as some bacteria. That’s absolutely biodegradation.
I think your going by some European standard for places that compost or something. Biodegradability in the plant and soil science world simply means it can be degraded by biology…
I’ve had a plastic pen that degraded within my hands. It was originally white and became brownish after some months. I’m not convinced about biodegradable plastic for long-term goods like mobile phones.
Yeeeeea, they probably didn’t put any sort of water proof coating onto it. That stuff is pretty hydrophillic. They could wrapped it in this stuff and that wouldn’t happen, and it’d look nicer, but it’d cost a lot more too.
I think it’s at the point it could make cases. That money could then be reinvested in some very complex R&D to come up with novelty strains of of biology that would be suitable for the outsides of the phones, and guts. Who knows, maybe we could even find one to replace silicon one day…