Problem: Annually, 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide and 7 million plastic bags are consumed every minute.70% of them end up in the environment. The one-piece polyethylene shopping bag takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Solution: Solubag is a biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting that completely dissolve in water in 5 minutes without contamination.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to eliminate single-use plastic bags.
Implementation: Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, founders of Chilean start-up Solubag developed the solution in 2014.
Solubags uses limestone instead of oil by-products. It has zero environmental impact compared to other alternatives like oxo-biodegradable bags, which are still made of polyethylene and break into small pieces of toxic plastic.
The chemical formula of Solubags contains polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a material found by Astete and Olivares while analysing biodegradable detergent capsules.
Solubag’s raw material can be extruded in any plastic extrusion machine, which allows it to be scaled very fast.
Achievements: The solution is recognized as the best innovation in Latin America, a prize awarded at the Summit Conference held in March 2018 in Chile.
The innovation is expected to be widely accepted in Chile, where a ban on plastic bags in large businesses came into force in February 2019. Solubag currently produces in China and is considering installing a factory in Tomé, Chile.