TO THE PLASTIC AGE
We know that the mealworm eats polystyrene since a Californian couple kept their worms in a styrofoam box. Studies have since shown that worm and plastic form a perfect symbiosis in which the worm extracts all the necessary nutrients from the foamed plastic and transforms it into a biologically usable mass. The same worm is also a high-quality source of protein and already regularly ends up on the plates of a third of the world's population. But what else arises in its life cycle when the larvae grow, pupate, become beetles and eventually die?
Plasticula is dedicated to these remnants, which consist mainly of chitin, and shows how they can be transformed into new materials. The background is the transformation of an inherently harmful plastic, which is transferred into new sustainable cycles and simultaneously dissolved.
The question of how we can gradually replace non-biodegradable plastics with bio-degradable ones has been on the research agenda for quite some time.
I consider the tactic of mimicry to be a very sensible strategy. By creating bioplastics that look feel and work like the plastics we know, a slow and subconscious change can be made. But in addition, the development of a bioplastic must bring another value with it if we want it to be of interest to producers. It must be cheap, better or at least approachable.
For the young and dynamically growing insect industry a bioplastic from the waste of their breeding offers several of these opportunities, since they could strengthen their production cycle and improve the image of their product at the same time. In addition, the introduction of a chitinous bioplastics through a growing industry would be gradual change to the packaging industry and could eventually establish itself for other products as well.
Therefore I think it's a great opportunity to link the three cycles of plastic, insect breeding and a new bioplastic.