What if you could toss old items of clothing into the dirt in good conscience? You can–if you have Equilicuá‘s Spud Raincoat. The waterproof coat, made of potato starch-derived bioplastics, is entirely biodegradable and compostable. That means it can go into the ground at the end of its life.
But the Spud Raincoat isn’t just biodegradable. It also contains a small clay ball that houses seeds for Mediterranean herbs, flowers, bushes and trees using a Japanese technique called “Nendo Dango.” The coat, a local product of Spain, sources its materials entirely from the European Union–it’s produced in Spain with German bioplastics made out of French potatoes. The seed-housing balls are also made in Spain as part of a collaboration with the Más Árboles Foundation. Equilicuá doesn’t reveal how long the $21 coat takes to degrade.
So when will 100% biodegradable plastic become mainstream? It’s hard to say, but plenty of companies are working on the technology. Frito-Lay, for example, is putting its SunChips line of multigrain chips in plant-based 100% compostable bags starting next year. Eventually, the company plans to use the compostable bags, which crumble into the dirt in 14 weeks, for all of its chips. The niche company BioBag also sells biodegradable kitchen bags, pet products, shopping bags, and more.