Comprised of corn-starch, sugar and used cooking oil, Nuatan is a new biodegradable natural plastic that aims to reduce waste in the oceans by providing an alternative that can safely be eaten by fish and other aquatic life.
Nuatan, created by design duo Vlasta Kubušová and Miroslav Král of Crafting Plastics Studio, was presented for the first time at an exhibition during London's Design Festival. According to the team, Nuatan has the possibility to “replace all the packaging we know,” as it degrades inside the human body or animals. To that end, it must be certified as suitable for food contact applications, after which it could replace traditional plastics in products such as plastic bags, plates, straws, water bottles, cutlery and many others.
Six years of hard work went into the development of the new bioplastic, during which the designers worked closely with material scientists at the Slovak University of Technology.
The result is a 100% plant-based material; a patented blend of two existing bioplastics - PLA polylactic acid and PHB polyhydroxybutyrate, which is made by microorganisms. It has unique properties: more durable than previous bioplastic samples, the material can last up to 15 years and withstands temperatures over 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius).
“For the first time, a fully bio-based, biodegradable material can be considered as a competitor in terms of properties and processability,” the designers explained. Nuatan’s applications are limitless, because the poly-blend is not restricted to blow-forming like traditional plastics are. Crafting Plastics Studio designed the material to succeed in any production chain. “We’re using it for 3D printing, injection molding and other plastic manufacturing technologies,” the team explained.
"Our pursuit is to be in the full control of lifespan of the product, from its origin – in the form of unrefined sources - to final product and until its inevitable decay. Through this approach we develop bio-based, biodegradable plastic which we apply in the production of our eyewear collection and other products.”