Innovators from around the world are finding numerous sustainable solutions to packaging issues that utilise what Mother Nature already provides. Working specfically with one of Mother Nature’s fruits, a design student has created a new material, Bio-Peel, which blends waste orange peels with a mixture of other biodegradable products to create a new packaging material that’s strong, malleable and environmentally friendly.
Bio-Peel, a new material unveiled by Brunel University London student Denny Handley, uses a mixture of orange peels sourced from industrial juicing waste, bio-polymers, vegetable glycerine – a by-product of bio-diesel – and water, and is hardened through a process of moulding, baking and drying.
The material’s opaque and rustic nature makes it a viable option for use as an alternative to single-use plastic at farmers’ markets or delis. It could also be used to make other hard surfaces, such as tables.
Denny Handley said: “My aim was to replace single-use plastic alternatives with a fully biodegradable option. Initially I had the idea that you could use all the waste produced making one litre of orange juice to create the carton, but the material itself steadily degrades in water, so I looked for other applications for it.”
The design student from Peterborough said the material was incredibly strong and durable, taking “over half a tonne of compressive strength on certain samples” under test conditions. “It’s really strong,” he said. “I also shot a piece with a shotgun too, and it stopped the pellets, so maybe I should be sending it to the military.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com