For years, scientists have been familiar with the antibacterial properties of walnut shells. However, two Chilean women from the startup Valnux, have recently come up with an incredible material that takes advantage of this bioactive property and offers a sustainable alternative to petrol-based plastics and wood! Valnux’s walnut shell bioplastic is biodegradable, durable, sustainable, and an easily recyclable thermoplastic.
Patricia Olave (product design engineer) and Natalia Valencia (chemical engineer), CEOs of the Chilean startup Valnux, have now created various kitchen materials (namely chopping boards and bowls) made from their patented material. However, they are confident in their invention and believe it can have many other applications, so they are willing to help develop anything the industry needs, including food packaging!
According to the pair, there are similar products on the market, but Valnux is the first company to take advantage of the antibacterial properties of walnut shells and incorporate it into the products themselves. This is very useful in chopping boards and kitchen materials, which tend to accumulate bacteria over time. Its elegant dark color is also appealing to chefs, which tend to prefer to have their bright dishes stand out over contrasting backgrounds.
The reason walnut shells were the perfect eco-friendly candidate for Olave and Valencia – aside from their antibacterial properties – was because Chile is one of the world’s biggest producers of walnuts, and the shells are not always put to good use (though it is sometimes used as a replacement for firewood). During their development stage, they were able to receive the shells from walnut providers that had no plans for them. This made the shells especially sustainable, as they require no additional water or land use for their production.
Valnux is now discussing other possible uses for their antibacterial walnut bioplastic, such as toothbrushes and other hygiene products! More info here: http://en.valnux.com/.