Read the text below.
A Singaporean professor developed an eco-friendly food wrap from soybeans that can replace plastic packaging.
William Chen from Nanyang Technological University developed the food wrap from cellulose, which is a substance that helps plants remain sturdy. Although cellulose-based wraps have been in circulation for some time, most are produced from wood or corn. In contrast, Chen’s wrap is made from the waste from soybean products.
When making soy-based products like bean curd and soy milk, manufacturers squeeze out soybean juice and throw away the remaining pulp. However, Chen figured that he can use the soy residue instead and ferment it to produce cellulose.
The soy cellulose wrap attempts to solve two problems. It tries to cut down the amount of plastic produced for food wrapping while also reducing the amount of plastic waste thrown in landfills. Microbes can digest the wrap easily, so it degrades entirely in less than a month.
Chen’s wrap also has an economic advantage over other eco-friendly alternatives. Wraps made from wood or corn are expensive to make because the materials needed for them need to be grown in farms. On the other hand, the soy wrap’s raw materials can be obtained for free, so the wrap’s production is expected to be cheaper. Chen said that currently, producing the wrap in the lab costs virtually nothing.
The wrap is still in the initial stages of being mass-produced. Chen’s team has partnered with soy-based drink producer, F&N, which will supply them with unlimited soy residue. F&N is also studying whether the food wrap could contend with common wrapping products in the market.