Scott Munguía produces bioplastics from avocado seeds. This young Mexican chemical engineer discovered in 2011 that the avocado seed contains a biopolymer similar to that present in corn, which is used to produce bioplastics.
In 2014, Mungía founded Biofase, a Monterrey-based company that sells bioplastic products made up 60% of avocado biopolymer and 40% of synthetic organic compounds.
Straws and cutlery made from avocado seeds break down in just 240 days and there is no need to incinerate them. This makes them a sustainable alternative for cities or countries that lack incineration facilities at their waste plants.
Biophase products have great manufacturing potential. According to Munguía, 300,000 tons of avocado seeds are discarded annually in Mexico alone, which could satisfy 20% of the global demand for bioplastics. So far, Biofase reaches 11 countries in Latin America.
Unlike other types of bioplastics, this alternative does not use crops for human consumption, such as corn or cassava. Together with other plastics made from food waste, Biofase products could help meet the growing demand for plastics without hampering progress in the fight against hunger.
“A bioplastic has to be sustainable… How does one make bioplastic from food? So many people dying of hunger and there is so much problem with the cost of corn, which is absurd and incongruous, (…) we must not take food away from the people, ”said Munguía.
What benefits to the environment do BIOFASE products provide?
The benefits to the environment are innumerable! We can start with the use of the avocado seed, which was previously an agricultural waste without any use. Imagine, transforming garbage into an ecological product: that is true sustainability.
Another important benefit is the reduction of plastic pollution to ecosystems. The plant-based composition of BIOFASE products can biodegrade when buried underground, or within the garbage dump. It does not need to be treated in any way to biodegrade.
Another important benefit is the carbon footprint. All the products we consume have a carbon footprint, this parameter tells us how much carbon is emitted into the atmosphere when any product is manufactured. As you might imagine, the carbon footprint of ordinary petroleum-derived plastic is extremely high. BIOFASE products have a minimal carbon footprint, which benefits the planet and helps reduce global warming.