In a study conducted by Cambridge University has found a way to create a vegan substitute to spider silk, that’s biodegradable and could replace single-use plastics in the near future.
Inspired by spider silk that’s known to be the strongest materials known to nature, the human-made vegan version is actually not very different from plastic, however, instead of taking years to decompose, it could disappear in weeks.
The material was developed using a new approach for assembling plant proteins into materials that mimic silk on a molecular level. Spider webs are strong, despite the hydrogen bonds that hold the silk together is actually 100 to 1000 times weaker than the powerful glue of steel’s metallic bonds.
According to researchers, they found that one of the key features that gives spider silk its strength is these hydrogen bonds, however, they are arranged with a very high density. They saw this and decided to replicate this in other proteins too. They have replicated the structures found on spider silk using a soy protein isolate —a byproduct of soybean oil production that’s readily available.
Additionally, Professor Tuomas Knowles at Cambridge explains, “Because all proteins are made of polypeptide chains, under the right conditions we can cause plant proteins to self-assemble just like spider silk.”
When it comes to Barbie dolls, Mattel, the company behind iconic toy brands like Hotwheels and of course, Barbie has announced that for the first time ever, they’re going to launch a series of eco-friendly doll collections that have been made from 90 percent of recycled ocean-bound recycled plastic.
It is said, the plastic is sourced within 50 kilometres of waterways in areas lacking formal waste collection systems. This comprises 90 percent of Barbie, whereas the remaining 10 percent is virgin plastic. This is a part of the collection dubbed Barbie Loves the Ocean and it would also include a range of beach-themed accessories.
As per the Senior Vice President, Lisa McKnight said in a statement, “Our 62-year legacy is steeped in evolution, as we consistently drive forward initiatives designed to better reflect the world kids see around them. Barbie Loves the Ocean is a prime example of sustainable innovations we’ll make as part of creating a future environment where kids can thrive.”