Composers have long reduced food waste by using vegetable scraps. But today, a whole range of high-tech products is on the market to help reduce food waste even more significantly. Beeswax food wrappers — like these from Tru Earth — have recently appeared in supermarkets and specialty stores as a reusable alternative to single-use plastics such as plastic or even single-use aluminum foil. Many conscientious consumers choose tea brands with compostable bags.
Now, researchers have discovered what may be the most high-tech and eco-friendly product of all. Rutgers scientists recently developed a spray wrapper that acts as an alternative to traditional plastics. Step into the future with us. According to the university, the new antimicrobial spray does everything ordinary plastic can: keep food fresh, prevent spoilage, and block pathogens and bacteria. It even protects your plate on the way to your next dinner party. Better yet, this spray wrapper does what ordinary plastic can’t, breaks down naturally. The plant-based ingredients make the packaging biodegradable. So, how does it work?
Our spidey-senses are tingling
Rutgers explains the method behind the madness. Biopolymer fibers such as starch are quickly spun in tiny turbine-like dispensers that are heated, then sprayed into a net, where the fibers then stick around your food, according to the researchers’ article published in the scientific journal Nature Food. See the article : Spotlight Scientist: Laura Condon | College of Science. This spray is cost-effective, non-toxic, water soluble (so it’s easy to clean when you’re ready to eat), and decomposes in soil in just three days.
Philip Demokritou, director of the Rutgers Nanoscience and Advanced Materials Research Center and Chair in Nanoscience and Environmental Bioengineering, said this product is an important development for the planet and human health. Demokritou says, “I’m not against plastic. I’m against the petroleum-based plastics that we keep throwing away because only a small part of them can be recycled.” Over the last 50 to 60 years, during the Plastic Age, we have put 6 billion metric tons of plastic waste into our environment… and these tiny bits of it make up the water we drink, the food we eat, and the air we breathe, ‘ continued Demokritou.
According to Britannica, true cellophane is made of a cellulose film, the structure of plant cells made of glucose. While this is theoretically plant-based, they say that plastics have actually continued to evolve to include synthetic polymers and other plastics. Even buried in the ground, it can take a thin layer of coated cellophane up to 120 days to completely decompose, according to the Disposal Method.
The future of eliminating plastics
According to National Geographic, single-use plastics such as plastic and bottled water are the largest source of microplastics in the environment — which can have detrimental effects on both living and non-living organisms in them. Microplastics, he says, have been detected in everything from the stomachs of whales, in tiny plankton, in the seafood people buy at the grocery store, and in the water you drink. To see also : A state food preparation class was offered at Coffee Co.. The Science Times estimates that we reduce about 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles each year. If you include microplastics that can be inhaled just from breathing, the number jumps to 74,000.
Dick Vethaak, professor emeritus of water quality and health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, worries that modern scientists have more questions than answers about the long-term consequences of ingesting microplastics. “There’s plastic circulating in our bodies,” Vethaak said, via NBC. “Are [microplastics] excreted? What fraction are excreted? Are they trapped somewhere in the system? Do they accumulate in certain organs? Do they cross the blood-brain barrier or the placenta?”
So, could this new product be the future of sustainable food safety? Philip Demokritou thought so. “This is part of a new generation of ‘smart’ and ‘green’ food packaging,” Demokritou said, via Rutgers. Meanwhile, we are thirsty for long-term sustainable options like these.