Patricio Cabezas, the winner of Latin America’s innovation award, brought his product to the streets of Miami for the ProChile Innovative Summit and presented a completely biodegradable bag, ocean-tested and fish-approved.
The bag is composed of polyvinyl alcohol, an ‘innocuous’ or non-toxic material, used for pharmaceutical capsules. Within three minutes of being submerged in water, the bag will completely disappear where a normal plastic bag takes roughly 500 years. During his demonstration, Cabezas allowed the audience to watch the bag dissolve, then promptly pour the water into a glass and drank it.
Formerly an engineer at a major Chilean plastic manufacturing plant, Cabezas told EFE, “First I helped create the problem and now I'm solving it.”
Partnered with Solubag, Cabezas was able to produce a bag with the same capabilities of its polyethylene counterpart and have already successfully been incorporated into major chain shopping centers in Chile with potential contracts pending in Panama, Mexico, Australia, and parts of Europe.
In July, Chile's constitutional court ratified a bill to ban the use of plastic bags in business. Other countries in the region, such as Dominica and Jamaica, have since followed suit and plan to implement their bans on single-use plastics within the next two years.