Meanwhile, home-grown innovators are using alternative sources to develop biodegradable forms of plastic they say are less harmful to the environment.
“Companies are doing their part in South America,” said Demirci. “One example is the Chilean start-up Solubag has created a plastic bag which dissolves in water in just a few minutes. The bag uses limestone instead of oil by-products, ensuring the solubility of the bag.”
Plasticor, a Brazilian start-up, has developed a patent-pending, biodegradable plastic that changes color when food begins to perish that it says can help reduce food waste without compromising food safety while Chilean company Valnux transforms discarded walnut shells into a biodegradable thermoplastic with naturally occurring antibacterial properties.
Other companies are developing solutions that do away with single-use plastic altogether. Algramo sells food and hygiene products through roughly 2,000 vending machines across the Chilean capital, Santiago, in re-usable plastic products.
Ecuadorian start up Ichtion meanwhile, has developed turbines that are capable of filtering and collecting plastic bags from rivers, preventing them from polluting the oceans.