Water-soluble plastics could become a sustainable and biodegradable alternative for the waste problem, as well as being an important ally in health matters
Research on water-soluble plastics has increased in recent years, but very few initiatives have succeeded. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, showed that this type of material could be key to health and everyday uses.
The Valencian company Green Cycles developed a water-soluble plastic that can disappear without leaving traces when submerged in water. The material lacks toxicity and, according to the developers, could become an alternative to shopping bags and other single-use plastics, many of which face various bans around the world.
Water-soluble plastics against COVID-19
In Spain, the laundry bag developed by Green Cycles has already proven to be of great help in reducing the risk of contagion. In residences and hospitals in which COVID protocols have been incorporated, these bags are introduced directly into the washing machine, with the clothes and belongings of the infected patient inside, something that has reduced the risk of contagion from handlers.
“It goes directly to the car wash. The bag dissolves, releases the content, and comes out perfectly clean and disinfected. The water goes through the torrent and the process continues: by the biological action of microorganisms, plants, animals and fungi, it will be transformed into the original chemical components. And, through a bio-oxidation process, it will end up being CO2, water and fertilizer ”, explains Elena Moreno, CEO of the company.
Advantages and disadvantages of water-soluble plastics
Water-soluble plastics could become a sustainable and biodegradable alternative for the waste problem, as well as being an important ally in health matters.
One of their main advantages over other compostable materials is that they take considerably less time to decompose in water: approximately two months.
There is, however, a major obstacle to mass production of these materials: the price is still considerably higher than that of traditional plastics and similar materials.