Mexico-based Biofase has developed a process to create environmentally-friendly disposable utensils in response to the alarming plastic pollution. The company makes biodegradable, sustainable and affordable forks, spoons, knives, and even straws from leftover avocado pits.
An estimated 40 billion individual plastic utensils are used or wasted every year in the United States. Most recycling facilities will not accept them because the process of recycling them is cost-prohibitive. Therefore, the plastic ends up in landfills where it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, or in the ocean, where it becomes a deadly problem for thousands of species. Most alternative straws need special facilities to be compostable.
Scott Munguía founded Biofase in 2014, after he had discovered that avocado seeds contain a biopolymer similar to the one in corn used to create bioplastic. The company’s products contain 60% avocado biopolymer and 40% synthetic organic compounds.
The company’s patented process uses technology to transform the avocado pits into a bioplastic resin that can withstand heat. The result comes in the form of a sheet that can be molded and cut, and needs no special recycling. Biofase’s straws and cutlery degrade naturally in just 240 days and can be composted at home.
Some bioplastics still contain high levels of traditional plastic, while the production of others requires extensive land use and contributes more to ozone depletion than even plastic does. The creation of bioplastics can also result in greater amounts of pollutants because of the fertilizers used to grow crops and the chemical processes needed to make them into a usable form.
Since Mexico grows so many avocados to be eaten the pits are readily available in Biofase’s home territory, lowering their carbon footprint. Biofase converts approximately 130 tons of avocado seeds a month at three locations into forks, knives, spoons, and straws. They currently ship products across Mexico, Europe, and Australia, where they are primarily used in restaurants.