A new biodegradable plastic has been developed by a Mexican company based on Avocados.
We all love avocados, and there’s one more reason to do so: sustainability.
BIOFASE has developed an unusual new polymer that is partly made from avocado pits. The material is 60% avocado seed and 40% “synthetic organic compounds”. They say the material has “excellent mechanical and physical properties”.
The magic of this material is that it is actually, truly biodegradable. Apparently it completely decomposes in only 240 days. This means parts made with BIOFASE material can be tossed in a landfill with far fewer sustainability concerns.
Other commonly used materials require special treatment to trigger decomposition, including high temperatures or pressures, both of which require energy and make the sustainability problem even worse.
The company appears to be focusing their applications toward disposable items, like plastic cutlery, dishes and similar items. This makes a great deal of sense, as those one-time items would occupy space in landfills for decades or even centuries otherwise.
The material is not made available as a filament for 3D printing, as it is simply a base plastic for general use at this point.
However, it seems to me that there is no currently available 3D printer filament that has the ability to quickly decompose.
If such a material were available, I am pretty certain that it would be quite popular in the community. For example, it would enable a 3D printer operator to print a number of draft versions of a 3D model in decomposable material before finalizing the print in the desired permanent material.
Another possibility would be to use the BIOFASE material as support structures, which could decompose after removal.
This could significantly change the waste equation for 3D printer operators, who today usually have a large bin of discarded prints and scraps that inevitably end up in a landfill. That bin could be much smaller if decomposable filament was used.
Unfortunately there is no current option for purchasing the BIOFASE material in filament form. I don’t even know if the material is suitable for 3D printing: does it warp? What temperatures does it require? Will it stick to typical 3D print surfaces?
I’m hoping that some filament manufacturer reads this story and investigates the possibility of producing a new decomposable filament with BIOFASE. Are there any takers?
Via BIOFASE (Espanol)