A new-generation material: Mixing Local fibers with Biopolymers for the Biocup's matrix.
The major barrier for bio-based plastics (Biopolymers) widespread acceptance as a viable commercial substitute to traditional plastic in Industries come from its relatively poor mechanical performances and high cost synthesis, due to high cost of raw materials.
However, industries based on natural fibers and biopolymers are striving for excellence and have bright future prospect to replace petroleum-based packaging products, while maintaining environmental, health and performance standards:
- Biopolymers obtained from methane (natural process occurring with methanotroph bacterias in aqueous environment) could allow reducing costs on industrial scale. Methane, considered to be the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon CO2, is cheap, abundant, and unlike many alternative, does not need arable land nor rely on oil-based feedstocks. Biopolymers obtained from methane also allows to establish a sustainable strategy for the recovery of underused waste streams in a number of local industries (ex: municipal solid waste, wastewater treatment, brewing, food processing, agricultural residues).
- The use of bio-fibers (ie. Locally sourced agricultural co-products, wheat bran, maize straw, Brewer's spent Grain, flax, juste, hemp etc.) will economically reinforce the poor mechanical properties of biopolymer matrice such as elasticity, toughness and will ensure the Biocup' stereo-regularity to meet health, safety and performance standards of petroleum-based products.
Inspire: Think Nature
Biomimicry teaches us that everything in Nature is designed for a reason.
Rosie is a special biocup made from biodegradable methane and fiber agricultural wastes, which is seeded with heritage nectar-producing plants (or 'Bee-forage plants') in its clutch. Bee-forage are pollen-producing flowers that are highly attractive to bees and other beneficial organisms, which will naturally feed and help bring pollinating insects back in urban spaces.
- Whatever will be the cup end-of-life (discarded, landfilled, composted, planted, ending in water sites…), Rosie will bio-breakdown (biodegradable cup matrix) and follow the natural seed dispersal process inspired from Nature: Zoochory, Hydrochory, Anthropochory. Relying on such natural system allow flexible management of the end-of-life product, prevents bacteria / fungi / actinomycetes inoculation of the cup matrix (which boost cup degradation process once in the soil) thus meet cup safety and performance standards. In addition, the cups are designed in such a way to engage user experience on global issues: decline of bees and its importance in our food systems, new integrated waste management of industries, plastic overuses awareness (see below).
- The mechanism behind the beeforage plant dispersal strategy is to improve food resource availability in urban areas to attract local beneficial insects. The major reasons to the decline of pollinating insects in urban areas are the loss, fragmentation and degradation of their natural habitats, due to change in land tenure (ie. nesting and overwintering site, floral resources and plant resource diversity). Once discarded, Rosie will bio-breakdown and be used as seed bed for a bee forage plant to offset major land use change and secure the food base for pollinators: increase accessibility, density and interconnectivity of their natural habitats.
Mindset: From Linear to Systemic models
A Paradigm shift to the linear mindset of resource consumption (“Take-Make-Dispose”) to a more circular and integrated system is, from our perspective, a powerful agent of change in future food system. A regenerative economy offers the possibility to develop symbiotic relation between natural ecosystem and intense human activities for every economic fields.
We see plastics as a treasure, because they basically are everywhere. Rather to see plastic as a trash, why not rethink its design to bring positive bioprocess in our food systems?