During the last decade, the popularity of avocados has undoubtedly grown in North America. But behind the cheery facade of eminently Instagrammable specimens of avocado toast, there are a lot of environmental impacts associated with growing these green fruits, like the draining of water supplies in Chile, and even causing avocado shortages in places where they are locally grown but exported out.
On the other side of this equation is the question of what to do with the seeds once the avocados have been used? After all, we can't all be carving whimsical works of art from them. Mexico-based company Biofase has another idea: transforming discarded avocado seeds into biodegradable cutlery.
Sourced primarily from guacamole and oil manufacturers that might have dumped these avocado seeds into a landfill, Biofase uses a patented process to convert around 130 tons of avocado seeds monthly into a a biopolymer material they call "avoplast", which is then made into forks, knives, spoons and straws.
The company makes two types of product materials, namely one type that biodegrades within 240 days, and another type that is compostable, needing to be placed in a compost heap to break down completely.
According to the company, prior to its inception, all biodegradable plastic products had to be imported from other countries into Mexico. But as recent policy changes in a number of municipalities in Mexico are now shifting toward banning single-use plastics, there's obviously a growing need for alternatives.
Currently, Biofase products are not only used in Mexico alone, but also in 11 other countries in Latin America. Biodegradable alternative such as those offered by Biofase and other companies are important in helping to reduce the massive negative impact that single-use plastics have on our environment; to find out more, you can visit Biofase (website is in Spanish and prices are in pesos).