In the middle of August the VIVISTOP workshop studio was once again turned into a biomaterial lab for a day and this time our focus was on BIOPLASTICS. Together with vivinauts we discussed what are the qualities of plastics and what actually means the “bio” addition to the name.
Plastics are materials that are easily formable with heat and pressure and preserve their form after cooling. The commonly known plastics are made from non-renewable origin — gas & oil — and hence the recycling of the plastics is the way to go, yet the resources are limited. This is where the bioplastics topic came up. The “bio” in the start of the name means that the ingredients of the bioplastics are of biological origin and hence they are renewable. Yet it does not always mean that the material is home-compostable! After a thorough discussion we came to conclusion that the more low-tech the material is created, the more you can be sure that it is safe to put it back to the nature.
With vivinauts we got acquainted with the ingredients that the common bioplastics are made of, such as corn and potato starch, agar-agar, cellulose and the star of the workshop — gelatine. To get to know the material in hand, the vivinauts got to make their own sun-catchers from self made gelatine-plastics!
The first step for it was to add gelatine to cold water and heating it slowly to melt the crystalline structure of the polymer. After reaching the right temperature (when the mixture started to have white foam on top), the glycerin was added to help the plastic keep its elastic qualities. Then the mixture was poured into the forms and the mixtures were decorated. The only criteria was, that the decorations had to be of biological origin as well, so that the overall product would be biodegradable. After the decoration the forms were put to refrigerator to cool down. That time was used to eat the “bioplastic” treats, such as marmelade and gummybears!
After the cooling process the sun-catchers were ready to be framed and — voila! — the beauties were ready! Every vivinaut got to take their own sun-catchers with them, along with the new knowledge of how to create and invent in a more sustainable way.