A Spoonful of Solutions
Colin Chan
R C Palmer Secondary
Floor Location : M 062 N

Inspiration for the project was stimulated when I came across an article about the dangers of polystyrene and its detrimental effects on the environment. Polystyrene is not biodegradable and contains harmful substances that are hazardous to humans. An alternative to plastic utensils was sought, made from a type of bioplastic that would decompose easily and be just as adequate as a normal spoon.

Polystyrene is comprised of styrene and benzene, which are harmful to humans when heated. It takes a lengthy and overwhelming amount of time to decompose in a landfill. Besides filling up 25 percent to 30 percent of all landfills, the manufacturing process of polystyrene creates lots of hazardous wastes.

The bioplastic was made using several hydrocolloids, glycerol, and water. It was placed in a chocolate spoon mold to be formed into a spoon. The gelling properties of hydrocolloids helped establish the structural integrity of the bioplastic, and the glycerol helps link the polymer chains. Since all the materials are plant-based, the production and disposal of the bioplastic will leave little impact on the environment.

The bioplastic spoons were successful, as they could be used as well as plastic spoons. The spoons had flexible and strong structural integrity and are fully waterproof. The materials were inexpensive and easily accessible. It met all the design criteria to be biodegradable and be just as competent as a normal spoon. However, the size of the spoon was limited to the mold. If the spoon could be further developed, a larger mold would be used or made.