Experts from Mahidol University in Thailand have introduced a new environmentally friendly material: pineapple plastic. It was created from the waste products of agricultural pineapple fields, namely the stems of the plants. The starch obtained from this waste became the basis for the polymer, which easily decomposes in the soil in just 14 days.
According to the authors of the study, pineapple starch contains a high concentration of amylose, a basic polysaccharide that is insoluble in cold water. Glycerol was added to plasticize the starch, and calcium carbonate was added as a filler to increase hardness. Small objects were made from this composite and successfully tested for strength and tensile strength.
The most important test, however, was the test for degradability in soil. The pineapple plastic was buried in the ground along with standard plastic and completely decomposed into smaller than 1 mm particles in just 14 days. Pineapple polymer bread bag clips were also made and successfully tested for their strength and ability to hold the bag closed.
Ecological pineapple plastic can become an alternative to petroleum-based and bio-based synthetic materials. This is especially relevant in countries where there is a large amount of vegetable waste. Using pineapple stems to create plastic will also help develop a closed-cycle economy, where resources are used to the maximum and in a waste-free manner.