Chilean designer creates algae-based bioplastic


In Chile, designer Margarita Talep has developed a single-use plastic from algae and dyes extracted from blueberries, purple cabbage, beetroot, and carrot.

Talep boils red algae to get agar, then uses water as a plasticizer along with natural dyes. The hot mixture is then transferred into a mold and dried. She tells the bioplastic is best-suited for dry foods. The packaging can even be sealed by heating. Changing the components of the mixture enables her to change the rigidity of the material to fit different packaging needs. The bioplastic will decompose in around two to three months in summer, and three to four months in winter, she adds.

“I believe that bio-fabrication will be an important part of future industries,” Talep says. “As long as all the processes of extracting these raw materials and their manufacture are done with environmental awareness. But it is not enough just to create new materials. These different solutions to the huge environmental problem must work in parallel with other action.”