bottle ovens

5 things you didn’t know about...bio-based polymers

Credit: tinglee1631 / Shutterstock 

1. Bio-based polymers are generally referred to as bioplastics, which are defined as a plastic that is either bio-based, biodegradable, or both. So bioplastics are not only derived from biomass but can include fossil-based polymers, too, if they are biodegradable.

2. Most biodegradable plastics will only decompose in an industrial composting facility.

3. Coca-Cola introduced the first version of its PlantBottle, made from 30% bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET), in 2009. Standard PET, used widely in drinks bottles, pots, tubs and oven-ready trays is a combination of 32.2% monoethylene glycol (MEG) and 67.8% purified terephthalic acid (PTA).

4. Companies and research institutions are developing bio-based polymers with a variety of natural feedstocks. Lactips, a French start-up, is expecting its milk protein-based polymers to enter the laundry, water treatment and agrochemicals market in the third quarter of 2017.

5. Banana peel provides the base for polymers developed at the University of Sonora, Mexico. Strips of banana endocarp are immersed in two antioxidants and then dried, lyophilised and mixed with either citric acid or propolis, a resinous mixture produced by honey bees to create a mouldable paste. When mixed with propolis, the biopolymer is food-safe and prevents the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. The University of Strathclyde, UK, has even developed a polymer using a waste product of the seafood industry.

To find out more see page 61 of the upcoming April issue of Materials World.

A Talisman Against Unwanted Sexual Attention

Since I’ve begun the Plant Ally Project, I’ve been wondering what spells different parts of pine trees could be used for. Pine cones are prickly, which makes them great for defensive spells, and as they’re one of two reproductive parts of a pine tree, they’re particularly great for spells of a sexual nature. Putting two and two together, here follows a spell that repels unwanted sexual attention. (While the cones are regarded biologically as “female,” this spell is not exclusively for women. People of all sexes and genders can use this spell effectively.)

Note: If you are being harassed for any reason, tell someone in a position to help you and take action to stop it. Don’t stay silent. Don’t put up with it. Don’t try to deal with it on your own. This spell is meant as a general deterrent and supplement, not a replacement for taking action against deliberate and repeat offenders. 

You will need:

- a pine cone
- lavender essential oil
- water
- a spray bottle
- an oven
- plastic sealable bag
- thread or yarn (you can choose a color that best communicates protection and defense – I use black, but that’s me; I discourage using warm, stimulating colors like red, orange, or yellow, though)

What to do:

1. Go out and get a pine cone in a size that’s suitable for using as a charm – no bigger than your palm. Rinse off any dirt and debris with water.

2. Preheat the oven to 200° F. When it’s heated, place the pine cone on a cookie sheet and bake it for about an hour (this draws out and dries up the sap, kills any parasites/microbes/yucky things, and opens up the cones fully). When the time is up, take it out and let it cool completely before handling it.

3. Mix a few drops of lavender oil with some clean water in a spray bottle. When the pine cone has cooled, place it in the plastic bag and spritz it thoroughly with the lavender water.

4. Seal the bag and shake it up, visualizing a protective barrier that repels unwanted glances, remarks, etc., emanating from the pine cone and surrounding your body. Open the bag, spritz generously once more, seal and shake again while visualizing the same barrier.

5. Store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for two to three weeks. Once a week, shake it up while visualizing the barrier.

6. After the incubation period is over, take the pine cone out of the bag. If it’s a little slick, set it out to dry out for a bit. Then tie the yarn around the pine cone, depending on how you want it to hang. Knot it – you could knot it nine times, using the 9 Knots Charm, or you can come up with your own charm for however many knots you feel is necessary to establish and bind the spell’s energy and purpose to the talisman. If you know how to crochet, you can also replace the knots with chain stitches!

7. Tie the end of the thread/yarn to an object you’ll be carrying around with you when you expect unwanted sexual attention/advances – a book bag, brief case, phone (if it’s small enough to serve as a phone charm), purse, your car’s rear-view mirror, etc.

You can make several of these at the same time if you want them in multiple places or to distribute them to friends and others who might need some extra protection.

Stay safe, my friends!