Potato plastic

Among the finalists for the James Dyson Prize was Potato plastic, a biodegradable plastic produced from potato starch, one of the many innovative projects that answered the call “Design something that solves a problem“.

Among the finalist projects for the James Dyson Prize, the competition that sees projects from all over the world compete each year, developed by students or recent graduates in design and engineering who respond to the call to “Design something that solves a problem”, is this project which develops biodegradable plastic cutlery made from potato starch.

The names of the top twenty finalist projects, which are in the running for the £ 30,000 prize (winner to be released in November), have been released, many of which are of great interest.

Among them is the idea of ​​Swedish designer Pontus Törnqvist from Lund University, who developed Potato Plastic, a potato starch-based material that looks like plastic, but biodegrades less in the soil. two months.

It is a thermoplastic material, composed of potato starch and water, heated until thickened, to pour the mixture into molds and exposed to heat until it becomes a compact and dry piece. .

The young designer hopes that his project will raise awareness of a global issue: the consumption of disposable plastic and its abuse in certain sectors such as fast food restaurants, for example:The ambiguity of certain plastic products – explains Törnqvist – must have a lifespan of more than 450 years and a service life of 20 minutes. “Replacing them with a material such as potato plastic could have beneficial effects on human health and the environment.”My stuff -added- It comes from a product of the earth and once its function is exhausted it can return to earth safely.

In addition to the biodegradable plastic cutlery made from potatoes, the finalists for the James Dyson Prize also include: O-Wind, the spherical wind turbine we have already talked about and which, using the Bernoulli principle, is able to capture the wind moving in any direction; WaterSafe, the innovative home water management system that can contain daily wasted water; Bing Bin, the smart container that recognizes, differentiates and compacts waste; Bermuda, the perfect low cost water purifier for emergency situations.

If you’re curious, here’s a similar project that describes how to make “plastic” with potatoes in a traditional way.

More information: jamesdysonaward.org