Kenya: Scientist produces dissolvable bags to fight plastic pollution

Nairobi — Solubag Africa, a global expert in environmental solutions, is using new technology to produce bags that dissolve when they come into contact with water.

In an interview with Capital News, Chilean scientist Roberto Astete, the inventor of Solubag, said the bag that dissolves in water could soon replace plastics that cause massive pollution.

“It is a non-plastic or carrier bag that dissolves when placed in hot water of at least 85°C, making it a 100% eco-friendly material,” did he declare.

In case the bag is thrown away with other trash, Astete explained, it still won’t harm the environment.

“That’s because it breaks down in 180 days and only natural substances remain,” he said.

The science behind the Solubag technology was born six years ago in Chile, South America, by a global business group formed by environmentally conscious Chilean scientists, entrepreneurs and managers.

Chile, like many third world countries, bears the brunt of plastic waste disposal, leading to pollution and environmental degradation.

With over 15 years experience in the plastic market and the recycling process, Astete explained that the idea behind the invention of Solubags was to find a simple solution to a big problem, plastic waste!

“If you compare plastic with combustible materials, plastic has the advantage of being recycled whereas the latter cannot. But with water, we have the advantage that all materials start to decay into a few seconds.”

According to Astete, this will save countries from making huge budgetary allocations to plastic waste recycling plants which are quite expensive, because by adopting the Solubag, the end user makes the switch by destroying the bag after use.

One of the main ingredients of these products is corn on the cob which, according to Solubag Africa co-founder George Jomo, will facilitate the manufacture of the bags due to the access and availability of raw materials locally.

“The raw material for the bag is modified polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), which comes from natural gas or calcium carbide, and corn cobs which are usually discarded after dissolving in water,” Jomo said.

He also said the new technology can be used to make personal protective equipment such as masks, planters and carrier bags, and detergent, eventually eliminating plastic packaging which, when improperly disposed of, can exist for more than 100 years in the ground. it is not biodegradable.

“This technology does not leave any toxic or polluting residue, because the raw materials used and the natural ingredients do not contain plastic,” he explained.

According to Jomo, Kenya is set to become the hub of the new product in Africa which has been adopted in countries such as the United States, Canada, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey and Germany.

-Solubag dissolution process-

Astete said they recommend dissolving the non-plastic carrier bag separately in a container, as it contains cotton thread which can cause problems in the washing machine or dishwasher.

“Do not dispose of the non-toxic bag or the carrier bag in the toilet, sink or other sinks where the water does not reach 85°C. In this case, the bag will not dissolve immediately, but the slow degradation process will begin and the pipes will clog.”

In the event of accidental ingestion, Astete assured that one would not be injured because only the carbon and a small number of harmless substances remain in the water.

The new technology comes as the world races against time to find solutions to plastic pollution.

UN member states adopted 14 resolutions to strengthen action on nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals at the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi on March 2.

The resolution on plastic pollution that has become an epidemic was widely voiced by member states, with the assembly unanimously agreeing to draw up a legally binding treaty, a decision supported by Kenya.

Bryce K. Locke