March 17, 2016 – In the world of packaging, it can be said that plastic is king. It is ever present as a packaging material in all corners of the world. Unfortunately, since plastic is widely used, you can only expect an overwhelming production of plastic products like plastic bags and containers. The problem with plastic however is that even with constant efforts in recycling it cannot be recycled over and over again unlike aluminum and glass. Another problem presented by plastic is its seemingly hard resistance to decomposition. Plastic takes an awful lot of time to decompose, about 500 to 1000 years.
Plastic poses a great risk to the environment. In fact, plastic has killed countless of marine animals such as turtles and dolphins that mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, one of their favorite preys. Furthermore, plastic heavily contributes to the pollution and the burning of plastic harms the ozone layer which in turn contributes to Global Warming. So basically, the excessive use and production of plastic sets off a chain of negative events that all lead to the damaging of the planet.
With all the risks from plastic use, it is high time that the packaging industry re-evaluates their practices towards a more eco-friendly approach. Thankfully, that is what the industry is doing right now. Consumers today are being given the option of choosing a much friendlier approach through biodegradable packaging items that were from raw and organic materials which make them easy to decompose and could also provide nutrients for the soil.
Today, there are many great ideas from many different and talented individuals that hope to provide an alternative to plastic. In fact, there is a Japanese design company called AMAM that is concerned about the risks of using and producing plastic which led them to discover a creative alternative to the problem in the form of Agar Plasticity. Agar Plasticity is derived from agar which is gelatin-like material which is commonly found in red algae. This project has been chosen as one of the finalists for the 2016 Lexus Design Award which would pair them with a design mentor to help them develop a prototype and bring it to the Milan Design Week. Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani, and Akira Muraoka, the men behind AMAM, said that they were attracted to the plasticity of agar as it can be easily remolded. Right now, they have made cushioning for packages from agar and are set on making an agar-based box container.
Being designers with limited knowledge on the technological field, they are hoping for researchers to pick up on their idea and create something helpful out of it. And with such a bright idea, there is no doubt that it will happen in the future soon and large companies both physical and online, such as Paper Mart, would be introducing their own agar-based packaging products.