Plant Plastics

An Australian company named Zeoform has been in the news recently for its patented technology of producing a new kind of plastic that uses neither fossil fuels nor toxic chemicals in its production or materials.

The input materials are water, and anything from landfill fiber-based material such as old newspapers or used clothing. The end material is both fire resistant, and compostable.

According to an article in HuffingtonPost, “Zeoform’s manufacturing process exploits the natural process of hydrogen bonding, taking a patented matrix of cellulose fibers and activating it with water (no glues required) to create a fire-resistant material that can be sprayed, shaped or molded into any form.

Zeoform guitar Source: Zeoform
Zeoform guitar
Source: Zeoform

“Zeoform can also be made to different densities — from cork-like to as hard as ebony — resulting in a wide range of possibilities: home construction, plastics in the aviation and automotive industries, (and) musical instruments.”

I couldn’t find any information on the energy input necessary to make this product, so it’s hard to say what its final carbon footprint would be. It’s hardly the first plant-based plastic, but the lack of toxic ingredients is a major step forward.

Even if it would take longer than most of us can imagine, massive success of any manufacturing technology based on waste would, at some point, ideally run out of ‘raw’ materials when the waste runs out (yes, an unlikely scenario, but it’s nice to dream).

That wouldn’t be a problem for Zeoform plastic, which can use plant fiber when needed.

An interesting product, and one to watch.

Zeoform chair Image: Zeoform
Zeoform chair
Image: Zeoform