Image credits: Isabella and Louisa Fischer
/
News Article

Bioplastics made from Avocados

By Sofía Hanna | Fri, 01/29/2021 - 13:55

Avocado, a Mexican agriculture staple loved by all and exported to many countries, is consumed in large amounts by millions of people worldwide. However, there is an issue that not many people are talking about and it is, what happens to the tons of pits that are being wasted? 

As previously reported by MBN, avocado exports during 2020 increased by 12 percent in the second half of the year, compared to 2019, last year, Americans consumed more than 6 billion avocados. By 2021, it is expected to grow by 4 percent compared to 2020. That 12 percent increase alone represents 551,226 tons of exported product, not counting tons that are being consumed in Mexico.

In a Business Insider coverage, they investigated Biofase, a Mexican company dedicated to making bioplastic with avocado seeds. 

The advantage of bioplastics is the possibility they bring to reduce pollution compared to plastics being used nowadays. Nevertheless, they require special industrial facilities to decompose.  Bioplastics can take a year to decompose in natural conditions, and regular plastic can take up to 450 years to do so. Still, a year is enough time to create a lot of damage if the waste is not handled correctly, according to Business Insider. 
According to Biofase, its products, unlike other plastics, do not have to go through an industrial compost bin and be exposed to high temperatures. So, they can degrade in the land or any landfill.

“Biofase has developed a unique technology for the manufacture of biopolymers made from the avocado seed. Our products have a minimal carbon footprint, which benefits the planet and helps reduce global warming. And it is the only biopolymer producer company in Mexico, extending the reach of its biodegradable products to more than 25 countries,” according to the company’s website

Today Biofase has three locations in Mexico and recently expanded to Australia.
Some of the products the company has been manufacturing are straws, cutlery, containers and plates. Such products are shipped to Mexico, Europe, South America, the UK, South Korea and Canada. 

The development of bioplastics has become a US$20 billion industry and there is now an increased demand for these products in the market. More companies are starting to develop these products, the technology is already there and there is a demand for it. What is missing is a bigger investment to increase production. 
This is a product that is not looking for a new market. It is merely trying to replace traditional plastics, according to Morgan Stanley, Institute for Sustainable Investing.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Business Insider, Biofase, Morgan Stanley
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst