There are plenty of eco-friendly substitute materials that we can implement in our daily lives to reduce the cause of plastic pollution. As more countries, global brands and companies are heading towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach, the demand for non-plastic alternatives is high.
Whether it’s businesses implementing fully compostable packaging or supermarkets cutting their usage of plastic bags, it’s safe to say that we are on the right track to cut down our reliance on plastic goods. To help you get started, here are some long-lasting plastic alternatives available right now.
Recycled paper and cardboard
Cardboard and paper are sustainable and recycle friendly replacements for plastic packaging. Especially when you’re shopping at your local supermarket, you can ask the staff if they have any spare cardboard boxes lying around the stockroom. Paper and cardboard are much easier to recycle, and the chances are that they are made from recycled materials in the first place. Overall, both materials break down quicker and produce less harmful pollutants than plastic.
Although glass is not biodegradable, glass is cheap and infinitely recyclable. Since many pre-packed foods like jam, sauce and fruit are generally stored in glass jars, they can be cleaned and reused to store homemade sauce, drinks and other use for arts and crafts.
Mushroom based materials
The biodegradable material called mycelium, made from a mushroom root, is a trending replacement for plastic packaging. The material is made with mushroom fibres and agricultural waste products like cotton hulls, rice hulls and wheat chaff. The final product can be used for compost or mulch, and some companies are using the material as an eco-friendly substitute for styrofoam.
Bamboo has naturally antibacterial properties, fast growth spurts, and it’s sustainable. Aside from its rapid growth, there is no need for farmers to use pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and the cost of production is low. Overall, these qualities make bamboo an eco-friendly replacement for more labour-intensive materials like metal and plastic.
Milk Protein / Milk Plastic
Although casein-based plastic has been around since the 80s, and with the help of advanced technology, scientists and researchers alike are revitalising the process of converting milk protein into a biodegradable material that can match the material properties of polystyrene. Many companies have developed this new, sturdier plastic for packaging. The material breaks down easier without leaving harmful chemicals, and it’s also edible!