Students at a Mexican university are trying to develop a degradable substitute for plastic made from mango peels.
In a campus of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, in the Sinaloa state of north Mexico, students have put a lot of efforts in the study of new bioplastic materials.
The objective of the research was to be able to create a biodegradable material from organic waste.
With Sinaloa state being home to the largest mango farms and mango juice production in Mexico, the choice of mango skins was obvious as dozens of tons of mango skins are discarded on a daily basis.
“The idea of this project derived from a research course of our university about biology and sustainable development, and the research findings of our lab on the study of degradable materials. We choose mango skin because the Sinaloa state where we are is one of Mexico’s largest producing areas of mango. About 13 percent of the mango and derivatives in Mexico are produced here,” said one of the students.
According to the participants in the project, the high tenacity and hardness of mango skin are similar with the characteristics of plastic, but to make it an accepted complete substitute for plastic still requires time and efforts.
“The biggest difficulty we have encountered is to make sure that the degradable material is comparable to the plastic. We try to do this so as to draw the attention of the public and make it easier of the new degradable material to be accepted by the public,” said another participant.
“Our research is still at the experimental phase. We have done a lot of experiments and the results are satisfactory. But there is still a long way to go before the new material is mass produced and acceptable by the public,” added another student.