You can try to recycle and compost all you want, but when it comes to buying groceries, you’re going to end up with a ton of plastic waste. We’re sick of that plastic wrap, though–especially when it’s poisonous to the environment.
But what if there were a better and healthier alternative to plastic wrap?
Enter the brilliant new invention that scientists just came up with: biodegradable plastic wrap. The plastic film isn’t really plastic at all. Instead, it’s made of milk protein, salt and citrus pectin, which, yes, are all safe to ingest. That means you could literally eat this plastic wrap if you wanted to–if you’re into that kind of thing.
“It feels like plastic wrap, when you look at it and when you hold it, but it does not stretch as much,” said one of the lead researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laetita Bonnaillie. In fact, biodegradable plastic wrap stretches five times less than regular plastic wrap. But it’s not all bad.
The new ‘plastic’ can be used to seal food products, and is just as strong as the regular kind. Plus, it’s less sticky–and that means it might be easier to use than the wrap we’re used to.
“Applications we are thinking of now are those little single-serve packages that use so much plastic,” said Bonnaillie. “If you have children, they love them. It kind of hurts to use them but it’s so practical. One possibility is to wrap those tiny snacks with our film.”
Whether you feel a twinge of guilt every time you peel off the plastic wrapper from your food or not, switching wrappers would do a lot of good for the environment, after we’ve already harmed it so much. The new ‘casein film’ is also loaded with benefits for our food. According to Bonnaillie, the film is 250 times better than plastic wrap at keeping food fresh since the film can block out oxygen (which makes food less fresh).
The film can also be used as a spray, which could prevent food from getting stale. Clearly, this is the food wrapper of the future.
Although the wrap is still being developed, we wouldn’t be surprised if this new invention hit every grocery store around the world. And to be quite honest, we’d be happy if it did.