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Chinese scientists discover edible plastic alternative

Words by Tess Becker

The ocean is full of plastic, and much of that plastic is ending up in fishes bellies which eventually cycles back to us through the fish that we eat. In 2022, headlines started popping up about microplastics showing up in our blood. All this is to say that something has to be done, and Chinese scientists have potentially found a solution. 

Scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have discovered a way to make food packaging out of an edible and digestible material using soy proteins and bacterial cellulose. 

“Extensive research has been conducted on BC, including its use in intelligent packaging, smart films and functionalized materials created through blending, coating and other techniques,” Professor To Ngai said. “These studies demonstrate the potential of BC as a replacement for single-use plastic packaging materials, making it a logical starting point for our research.”

This has a high potential to scale up, which many plastic substitutes struggle to due, since BC can be easily farmed without harm to the environment. 

“This research serves as a reminder that natural raw materials may already possess the necessary characteristics to perform beyond the functions of plastic packaging.”

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

The Women Invested to Save Earth Fund. This organization helps support underrepresented and underfunded Black, indigenous, and women of color-led organizations across the world. Find out more and support them here

Collective Sun. They help nonprofits get outfitted with solar power capabilities. Check them out here.

Florida Bicycle Association. An organization that helps mobilize people and promote greener living and safer biking. Find out more

This article aligns with the UN SDG Industry & Innovation.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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