Not having to deal with bale twine or wrap would be a dream come true for almost anybody who’s ever taken care of livestock.
Three chemistry PhD students at Imperial College in London have invented a bale wrap that’s not only edible, but could also be used to provide nutrient supplements to animals eating it.
Bionet, as the edible biopolymer is known, was developed by Nick Aristidou, Will Joyce and Stelios Chatzimichail.
The trio won the Imperial College London Venture Catalyst Challenge with their invention on Wednesday, which included a prize of £10,000 in funding.
As pointed out on their entry page, the edible bale wrap “removes the dangers of livestock plastic ingestion and entanglement in hooves and horns and above all it alleviates waste on farms as the current netting accumulates and goes straight to landfill.”
They’re also working on incorporating key nutrients and minerals in the product.
“We can tailor what goes into the plastic for different animals – we could make one for equine animals, one for sheep, one for cattle,” Aristidou told British farm publication Farmers’ Weekly (read here).
But don’t put the utility knife and garbage/recycling bins away yet…they say they believe the product is still three to five years away from becoming available to farmers. And who knows about the timeline for a product like this in North America…