The article that I read, Bioplastics Man by Maywa Montenegro on www.seedmagazine.com, ties right in with what we have been talking about all semester and what we are talking about currently. Bioplastics Man dives in to the world of bio plastics and what is happening in the current industry. Oliver Peoples has developed a new bio plastic which he has named Mirel.
Mirel is produced from corn, much like other bio plastics, but is leaps a head of all the competition. Current bio plastics do seek to create a cleaner environment, but are only good for certain purposes and can not be used along side water or liquid such as hot coffee. Mirel is the offspring of years of research and development which allows it to live along side liquids. Peoples goes on to explain that Mirel is able to hold things such as shampoo for up to five years because it needs the microbes that are in soil, fresh water, and salt water to break it down. This means no more hot coffee and bio plastics cups melting on your lap while on your way to work.
The process according to Peoples takes the sugar from corn or ethanol. It is then put through a process much like a brewing process which hardens the sugars. Once the hardening has occurred it is then strained out in to the product known as Mirel.
Mirel, the "wonder plastic of the near future," promises to be the technological fix. Peoples realizes that initial costs will be high, but just as any other new industry, the costs will decrease and inevitably decrease our footprint on the earth. Sea life would no longer choke or die from our plastics, our land fills will no longer be stacked high with unused plastics, and we will still retain our love for plastics through Mirel the new bio plastic.
Currently under construction, and in the finishing stages, is the first Mirel plant which is located in Clinton, Iowa. The Clinton plant will almost be a self contained plant. It is located in the heart of the Corn Belt which means long shipping to plant will not be needed, the wet mill is located on site, and all the energy it needs to start and continue to run. The plant will be producing the first 50000 tons of Mirel soon after the finishing according Peoples.
Mirel seems to be a promising fix for our current bio plastics which waste away in liquid and will take the place of the environmentally hazardous hard plastic. It is no question that we a people do need a fix. We cannot continue mass produce hard plastics that do not break down in the environment. Peoples has been developing for years now at his Cambridge laboratory and believes whole heartedly he has found the answer and I can't wait for him to be proven right.