Is your spidey-sense tingling? A team of Rutgers and Harvard University scientists have developed a potential solution to our planet’s plastic waste problem. Using a sprayable and biodegradable webbing similar to Spider-Man’s, food can now be packaged in a plastic wrap alternative without continuing to fill our landfills and oceans with trash.
Basically, web-like strings are shot out of a heated device onto a food, shrink-wrapping it in a plant-based mesh. This spraying method is named “focused rotary jet spinning.” At this point, the food items, which can vary in shape, size, and type, are ready to be transported, all without the need for plastic.
Humans waste over 400 million metric tons of plastic every single year, and a lot of it comes from food packaging. When that plastic ends up in our oceans, it poses a threat to marine life — and in landfills, it takes hundreds of years to break down.
Clearly, something needed to be done to combat this plastic crisis. So a team of scientists developed this plastic wrap alternative to encapsulate foods.
This super-webbing is strong enough to ensure the foods don’t get bruised, and contains antimicrobial chemicals that stop the foods from spoiling. It also can prevent E. Coli contamination. And when you’re ready to chow down, it can simply be rinsed off or peeled.
Early testing even showed that the coating gave some fruit a 50% longer shelf life than plastic packaging!
The future of food wrap may not be plastic. Hopefully this biodegradable webbing will be scaled to protect our oceans, environment, and food.