Edible plastic

Making packaging disappear

By Museum of Engineering Innovation

New Stones - Newton's Tones (1978) by Tony CraggArts Council Collection

Half of plastic packaging is used once and thrown away. Plastics can take several centuries to decompose and tackling plastic pollution is vital for our future.

Seaweed capsules filled with sauces and drinks by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Notpla – so called Not Plastic – is using engineering to fight our plastics pollution problem. 

Notpla is the name of both a material and a company that aims to significantly reduce plastic waste with a plastic-like material that can naturally biodegrade in weeks.

Seaweed based plastic by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Notpla is made from one of nature’s most renewable resources, brown seaweed.

seaweed by Lachlan RossMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Brown seaweed grows up to 60 metres tall, creating underwater forests. 

Growing up to 1m per day, it doesn’t compete with food crops for land.

It also doesn’t need fresh water or fertiliser and actively contributes to de-acidifying our oceans.

Notpla is a sustainable plastic alternative that biodegrades naturally in four to six weeks. It doesn’t produce micro-plastics and, unlike many plastic materials, it can be composted at home and doesn’t contaminate recycling. It’s even vegan! 

Seaweed capsules filled with sauces and drinks by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

A team of designers, chemists, engineers, and entrepreneurs are behind the seaweed-based material.

One of Notpla’s products is the Ooho, an edible and biodegradable packaging used for beverages and sauces. 

Marathon runners hydrate with edible drinking capsules by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Ideal for on-the-go consumption, Oohos can replace plastic cups and bottles at festivals and sporting events. 

It was trialled for removing single-use plastics from the Virgin Money London Marathon.

New Stones - Newton's Tones (1978) by Tony CraggArts Council Collection

Producing plastic is harmful because it comes from petroleum, a non-renewable source, and even recycling can be tricky. 

It’s hard to break plastic down, and when broken down creates harmful micro-plastics – which can now be found everywhere, from the seabed to our bloodstream. 

Orange juice edible capsule by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Notpla’s engineers are always looking to improve the process and design new solutions.

As well as edible capsules, they are making compostable takeaway boxes lined with Notpla coating, offering 100% home compostable boxes. 

Biodegradable sachet of ketchup by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Next up, they are looking to make heat-sealable films, take-away container sachets and seaweed papers. 

Seaweed based plastic by NotplaMuseum of Engineering Innovation

Inspired by nature and revolutionising how we see plastic, seaweed is helping make packaging disappear. 

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