Pavel Alexy has been working on making sure alternatives to plastic are as ecological as possible, and has now developed a ‘second-generation bioplastic’ from excess frying oil.
The academic, based at the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, is committed to finding bioplastics that decompose in industrial compost, soil, or water. “There are two types of bioplastics: bio-based, made of renewable raw materials, and biodegradable,” he said. “For nature, we prefer those that are both bio-based and simultaneously biodegradable, so that they do not stay as waste for decades in the water.”
His bioplastics are made from waste frying oil, produced in large quantities all over the world. Alexey is hopeful that if there is a switch to bioplastics, there may be a significant contribution to reducing non-degradable plastic waste in the densely-polluted seas.
Chemists from his university have worked with the studio craft plastics! to use bioplastics for sunglasses frames, a plan which won the 2017 National Design Award in the category of value-added design. The idea was to look at whether sustainably produced plastics could not only replace single-use items, but also longer-term uses.
The same team is also working on prototypes of furniture, mainly chairs and interior accessories, and reusable coffee thermo-cups and toothbrushes, which are frequently disposed of in high quantities.Tags: biodegradable, bioengineering, biomaterials, bioplastic, plastic, plastic pollution, plastic solutions