A Belgian-invented bioplastic made from peas


A Belgian civil engineer working for his family-owned company has found a way to turn a by-product of their business into an innovative new bioplastic.

Gilles Crahay, whose family owns a company that produces chicory and peas, was looking for a way to make good use of the excess pea starch created in his family company’s production.

One thing led to another, and the Belgian start-up PolyPea was born. Crahay and the Italian Dr. Serena Maria Torcasio put their heads together and developed a bioplastic based on the starch.

Not only is the company’s plastic bio-sourced, it is also bio-degradable (both of these factors, whether separate or together, make it a bioplastic). With such a green product, PolyPea is hoping to develop wrapping film that can be used by various sectors ranging from food to chemical and even medical.

Back in 2020, when the company’s adventure started, PolyPea was among the winning projects for a regional “Plastics Go Green and Circular” challenge.

Did you know that it was a Belgian, Leo Baekeland, who invented the plastic “Bakelite” and was thus dubbed the Father of the Plastics Industry? He may have become a naturalised American, but Baekeland was born, raised and educated in Belgium.

And so, Belgium comes full circle, from the now ubiquitous original plastic to a more sustainable solution.