In this blog, we love telling you about exciting new Italian inventions that have the potential of changing aspects of our daily personal or professional life. We have done that recently when we wrote about U-mask, and we are happy to do that again to tell you about Solaris Biotech Solutions, a bioplastics company based in Porto Mantovano, which is about to change the world of winter sports forever.
Sports and sustainability
When we think of sustainability and what changes should be made in order to achieve it, we tend to think of transport, consumption of packaged goods, electronics, and heating. We seldom stop to think about “healthy” activities, such as sports and hobbies, that might be having an impact on the environment. In the case of sports that require specific equipment, such impact can be considerable. Winter sports, for instance, use a lot of carbon-based materials, which allow tools such as skis and snowboards to be both light-weight and resistant, sturdy and flexible. And utterly non-recyclable. Also, the amount of energy, fossil fuels, and waste that goes into their production is worrying at best and unsustainable at worst. An Italian company has been researching ways of decarbonising the materials used in the production of this type of sports equipment.
From the bottom of the sea to the snowy slopes of the Alps
Solaris Biotech Solutions produces and exports bioreactors. You don’t need to know what those are, what you do need to know is that the processes they have developed now allow the production of skis, snowboards, and surfboards not from carbon-based plastics, but micro-algae. The materials used are a combination of natural woods such as poplar and biopolymers, derived from the aforementioned algae, which laminate composites of natural and artificial materials, including high-density polyurethane, poplar offers superior damping and impact resistance compared to traditional materials. This reduces the use of fossil-derived plastics to a minimum, allowing for a much more sustainable production and disposal process.
Bioplastics will be a game-changer
The future of sustainability relies heavily on bioplastics. We live in a world that can’t seem to do without plastics, in one form or another. We need light and resistant materials with which to package products, protect food from contamination, build tools for all sorts of human activities and containers for all the goods we consume, sell, and buy daily. None of this can be done without plastics, which has driven plastic pollution in our oceans and most natural ecosystems to unsustainable levels. Bioplastics should be able to perform the same functions as fossil-based plastics, but decay naturally overtime – unlike single-use plastics, which take centuries to dissolve and poison the food chain in the process.