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BITE ME : a bioplastic LED desk lamp

Reduce, reuse, recycle…. digest!

Introducing a new product that has taken the interior design scene by storm: a fully biodegradable, compostable, and edible bioplastic desk lamp.

Created by American designer Victor Vetterlein, the BITE ME Desk Lamp is an algae-based plastic, made using the same basic recipe and method that we have described on this website, in the article HOW TO: make algae bioplastic.

The core ingredients are agar (the polymer substance found in seaweed and algae), vegetable glycerin, purified water, food coloring, and flavoring.

The desk lamp comes in orange, cherry, blueberry, and apple. Yes, that’s the flavor of the lamp, not just the color.

The ingredients of the bioplastic are all natural, non-toxic, and edible. In fact, all of the ingredients can usually be bought in a regular corner grocery store. As a result, when you are done with the lamp, you can compost it… or you can eat it.

Of course, you can’t eat the entire thing. It comes with a LED lighting adhesive strip, an LED circuit board, and an electrical cord.

But the plastic part is not only edible, it’s good for you. Agar is low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. It is a good source of vitamins E and K and other trace minerals. It will not be out of bounds for any healthy diet.

How did Victor Vetterlein come up with this genius idea for a biodegradable, edible desk lamp?

You guessed it: he read the Green Plastics Book, the same place where most of the recipes that we talk about on this website come from.  Here is a photo of all of the ingredients used to create the BITE ME desk lamp, along with the book that inspired the idea:

What new product can you invent, by experimenting with home-made bioplastics?

Lili Design Jewelry – a bioplastic success story

For the holiday season, we would like to share with you a home-made bioplastics success story: bioplastic jewelry by Lili Design, Ltd.

Lili Design, Ltd., has created a line of bioplastic jewelry that is entirely adapted to skin, completely natural and biodegradable. The bioplastic jewelry came out of long research into sustainable solutions to replace fuel based plastic. After months in the kitchen, mixing each ingredient to understand the chemical reaction of natural elements, Lili has developed an innovative bioplastic, based on corn, potato or even tapioca, which is unique.

Lili wrote to us with this wonderful testimonial about her project:

“Bioplastic is fascinating but required a bit of time. As every piece need at least one week to set, it’s a long process, to know what works and what doesn’t. But if you are interested to learn how to cook it from scratch and see a range of completely innovative material,I organize workshop in Surbiton ( Greater London).

And I sincerely recommend the video of Brandon on youtube, which was one of my starting point, more than a year ago. And a great guy, by the way, who took time to answer to my questions and help me really nicely.”

Bioplastics News in August 2011

Cereplast, one of the key manufacturers of biodegradable plastics made from renewable resources, has continued to expand, signing a new agreement with a distributor in Scandinavia. Cereplast is one of the leading providers of truly “green” bioplastic resins that appears in products ranging from car parts to compostable plastic utensils that you can buy at the store. The expansion of Cereplast into the Scandinavian market is a reflection of the broader world-wide expansion, especially in Europe and Asia, of the bioplastic industry.

This world-wide shift is good news, because the global economy is based on positive feedback. As distribution goes up to meet demand, production and manufacturing will also rise, and this will drive costs down: the more you can mass-produce any product, the cheaper it is.

What’s the evidence for this? Also in August, Dow Chemical announced plans to set up operations for mass-producing sugarcane-derived polyethylene in Brazil. With the opening of the new production plant, Dow Chemical will control the entire chain of production of their bioplastic resin, from the sugarcane field to the processing plant, allowing them to mass-produce the bioplastic more efficiently and at a lower cost. Cardia Bioplastics has also announced growth, and Genomatica, an industrial biotechnology startup based in San Diego, has agreed to establish a joint venture with Novamont, a leading bio-plastic producer, to produce butanediol (BDO) from renewable feedstocks in Europe.

But the excitement isn’t just going on overseas. Trellis Earth Products Inc., a company that specializes in consumer products (bags, boxes, cutlery) made from plants, announced that it will spend $7 million to move part of its overseas manufacturing to its Wilsonville, Oregon. The company has been seeing consistent growth, expecting $4 million in sales this year, which is a 30% growth over last year. Although they have outsourced manufacturing to China in the past, they said that high tariffs and shipping costs have made it more cost effective to move much of their operations home. They also said they plan on opening another manufacturing facility in Chicago in the near future.  We know the company must be doing well, because it also filed for two new patents this month, as well.

Petoskey Plastics is adding 12 million pounds of capacity to its plant in Hartford City, Indiana. BioAmber Inc., a Minneapolis-based company, is building a new 35 million-pound-capacity plantin Sarnia, Ontario, to make succinic acid. This is a bio-based chemical that can be converted into the types of bioplastics that are used in plastic cutlery and auto parts. And Taiwan just signed a deal with Cargill to buy $55 million worth of corn-based plastics made in Blair, Nebraska.

All in all, it looks like investing in “green technology” is already beginning to happen in the United States, regardless of the posturing and politics going on in this election season.

What new bioplastic source materials were all the buzz this past month? Bioplastics from cheeseand bioplastics from cows seem to top the list of interesting and buzz-worthy announcements.

 

Did we miss something from this past month? Do you have an announcement you want included in next month’s round-up? Email Us and let us know!

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