Taiwanese start-up 100% Plants turns sugarcane byproducts into polymer raw materials that are used to make biodegradable straws, potentially opening new avenues for research into sustainable alternatives for plastic.
Simple chemical aggregation methods would be sufficient to render sugarcane by-products, or bagasse, into polymer raw materials, which could be used to manufacture biodegradable straws, 100% Plants founder Huang Chien-chung (黃千鐘) said on Friday.
Developing the processes was not without its challenges.
Photo: Chen Feng-li, Taipei Times
The first factory that they collaborated with complained that the materials were “unusable,” Huang said, adding that solutions necessitated modifying the factory’s machines.
After calibrations and tests, a product was produced that would not crack or splinter, even when subjected to temperatures of minus-20°C, Huang said.
The company is collaborating with National Taiwan Ocean University to determine the product’s rate of degradation when submerged in ocean water or in fish stomach acid, he said.
“We hope that the test results will prove that our product is environmentally friendly,” Huang said.
The Rural Development Foundation fully supports the start-up’s idea, foundation president Hsieh Chih-cheng (謝志誠) said, adding that using what would otherwise be considered agricultural waste as a substitute for polyethylene is practical and eco-friendly.
The start-up is researching using discarded bamboo to manufacture one-time utensils, with a prototype undergoing tests in the US and Australia, he said.
The company’s efforts have attracted the attention of several French tourist destinations, as France’s Energy Transition for Green Growth Act intends to ban plastic plates, cups and utensils by 2020, he added.
The start-up is in talks with the localities regarding the possibility of turning grape bagasse and barley pulp into useful products, Huang said.
The start-up has refused offers from more than 20 Chinese companies over the past two months wishing to buy its technology, he said.
“We do want to make money, but we give an even higher priority to working with the international community as a Taiwanese company,” Huang added.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with