Today’s Solutions: February 03, 2023

With so many headlines everywhere about the devastating effect of plastic pollution on our ecosystems, it feels good to see scientists eagerly working on finding sustainable solutions to this urgent environmental crisis.

The most recent instance comes from Mexico, where a researcher has been making biodegradable plastic from prickly pear cactus. The new plastic alternative, mostly comprised of juiced cactus leaves, takes one month to biodegrade when left in the soil and just a few days in water. The material is also edible and can be ingested by animals and humans. That means even if the fake plastics make their way into the ocean, they’ll either feed the fishes or dissolve instead of hurting wildlife.

There are about 300 species of prickly pear cactus in Mexico, and the scientist is currently researching which one is the best in order to produce her bioplastic on an industrial scale.

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