Biodegradable Cosmetic Microbeads/ Microplastics
Explain your idea in details:
Objective: To create and strengthen jobs in the cosmetic an biorenewable sectors while reducing adverse environmental footprint. Innovative Approaches: The biodegradable microbeads could be produced using custom-designed biological processes (fermentation). The feedstock for these processes could be lignocellulosic biomass, or carbohydrate-rich waste materials. These can be easily produced using select microorganisms (bacteria) and a well-defined process condition. The produced bio-composite from this process could be extruded into other products like shopping bags and storage containers; however, they can be treated to meet pharmaceutical standards and then pelletized to microbeads for application in cosmetics such as facial scrubs, toothpastes, etc. Since there is a huge market for this, high throughput is needed and in order to ensure high yields and reduction of downstream upgrade of the bio-composite to pharmaceutical standards, the feedstock has to be pretreated and sorted to be of the best quality in terms of absence of impurities and contaminants.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
Shutdown of lines of cosmetic products which use microbeads may have a trickle down economic and social effect that would be detrimental to economies. For example, it may lead to loss of jobs, instability in family incomes, loss of homes, and then huge dependence on government hand-outs. It is my hope that by implementing this idea, more job opportunities will be created and strengthened. Owing to the strong economic importance of the cosmetic industries, I believe development of biodegradable microbeads would encourage offspring of more consumer and environment-friendly products. I also expect strengthening of the bio-resources industry towards a more diverse bio-economy especially using the bio-refinery concept. Since these biodegradable microbeads could be produced from organic fragments of municipal solid wastes or from BOD-rich brewery effluents; adoption of this technology will also reduce the need for landfill sites, or environmental dilapidation. Most importantly, it is my expectation that this would lead to a more sustainable and friendly environment especially in surface waters which act as sinks of most environmental contaminants. The microbeads may be effectively removed via biodegradation during wastewater treatment practices or via natural attenuation in the environment.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
This idea ma be pitched to venture capitalists for a percentage of the share capital or to cosmetic industries for exclusive rights to the products. Strength: No bioproduct firm currently does this. Opportunities: Major cosmetic industries across the globe are currently at the verge of shutting down further manufacture of products with microbeads. Jobs will be lost and a major source of revenue is threatened. Weakness: This project is capital intensive. although the technology is proven, substantial research is sill needed to ensure that the microbeads being produced are hypoallergenic and the must be certified by the USDA and other standardization organizations. his takes time. Threat: Current research an industrial trends focus on conversion of lignocellulosic biomass and organic wastes to fuels. Competition for the feedstock may no be favorable for the cosmetic industries. A way around this will be to site the biodegradable microbeads industries in developing countries where biofuel production still has low consideration, encourage large scale production of feedstock such as corn, etc. One of the greatest advantages of this is that the industry could always be repurposed for or integrated with biofuel production.
My name is Anyaduba Tochukwu Dubem. I am a 31 year old Nigerian with very strong belief that my country and in fact, any country can be developed if education is given due attention. I have a BSc in Microbiology (Nigeria) and MSc in Environmental Biotechnology (UK). I am also studying for another MSc in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, specializing in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Science and Biorenewable Resources and Technologies (USA). I am an environmentalist with aptitude for interpretation of my theoretical knowledgebase into tangible development-centered projects and structures. My dream is to understand and teach science and engineering from inside-out and to focus on applied education. I have been to several developed countries and my greatest curiosity has been to understand what really makes their academia tick and how they have been so successful both towards infrastructural and economic development. My dream is to contribute to the development of my country, my continent and the world at large by giving education in Nigeria a meaning. My ideas are mostly at conceptual stage as most may need advanced resources and research for further development but they are dreams I hope to live and achieve before I retire. I hope to lay a strong foundation for generations-unborn; on which they can stand to bridge the gap between western education and Nigerian academic credentials. Please vote for me.