Students of Conalep in Tamaulipas developed a project called “Cactolli”, which consists of creating a bioplastic from the use of cacti and with which they can make straws, cutlery and plates, among other products that are friendly with the environment. A company was interested in developing it commercially but was stopped by the pandemic.
“Cactolli” arises from a work of the students from Conalep campus 172 located in Ciudad Victoria. The word is a union of meanings: cactus cactus Y olli What is it plastic or rubber in Nahuatl (olli).
Students indicate that they were interested in creating a product that was friendly to the environment, a plastic that is capable of biodegradation.
And, they point out, a plastic bag takes a second to be manufactured, 20 minutes to be used and then 100 years to be degraded.
“This is where ‘Cactolli’ comes in, an opportunity to take care of our environment from plastics with natural materials”, said Adriana Vogel from the Conalep team 172 from Ciudad Victoria that have developed the project, which also includes Eva María Balderas Campos and Samuel Alvarado, advised by teachers Claudia López Tinajero and Oscar Hugo Méndez.
“We work on a bioplastic based on cacti and babita called mucilage, we process it chemically and we obtain this material that is friendly to the environment.”
With which, he explained, they can be made from straws, cutlery and plates, among other products.
“We seek to counteract the use of plastics that are so damaging to the planet and the environment. We must take care of it because it affects us all as a community, therefore innovation and creativity are necessary, it is necessary to know that these advances can benefit the planet and ourselves ”.
Company is interested in student project
A nationwide company is interested in commercially developing the “Cactolli” project, but everything stopped due to the pandemic.
“There is the interest of a company to be able to produce this type of product on a larger scale, but everything stopped at the moment so there is no progress on this issue, but the project continues to be refined to produce more and reduce production costs”said the general director of the National College of Technical Professional Education (Conalep) in Tamaulipas, Agustin de la Huerta Mejia.
In this sense, he expressed that “Cactolli” is a great achievement, since since the idea was generated it caused a lot of expectation and the project has been achieving recognition.
“In intramural competition it achieved second place, for each campus three pass to the state phase and prior to that there is an internal classification and thus began to advance to the state one, surpassing the first place project and thus it has managed to position itself, in the phase regional and arrive at the national science and technology fair sponsored by Cotacyt, obtaining awards and first places in various competitions ”.