I’m sure there are some of you reading this that are likely tired of hearing about the blight of plastic pollution. It is a very real issue and one we have talked about at length on this blog, but although we have mentioned alternatives in passing, we’ve never actually written an article entirely devoted to it.
So, what plastic alternatives are out there?
The first that springs to mind is one that we’ve covered already: plant-based plastics. These are being trialled in a number of companies – co-op is using plant plastic for their 5p bags – and are proving successful. But there are more alternatives out there that are not as widely available.
You would probably be surprised to know that mushroom root is being billed as a potential replacement. Called mycelium, which is a substance that Quorn meat substitutes are made from, it is blended with hemp and effectively grown in moulds for a week until it becomes ridged. A simple and elegant solution to the plastic problem that is 100% biodegradable and can be pulped and reused. Visit www.mushroompackaging.com and be amazed.
Paper is also being utilised as an alternative. Advances in technology have meant that paper can be manipulated into something that is far stronger than it ever was. The whisky brand Johnnie Walker is testing the use of paper bottles in stores and L’Oréal have developed shower friendly card that can be used for their beauty products.
That’s not all though. There is a multitude of plastic variants that are currently being field-tested. How about bagasse, which is a by-product of processing sugar cane? Or bamboo, which is already being used for the likes of Tupperware alternatives and thermos cups. You can even buy cellophane made entirely from wood pulp. Even the packing peanuts we sell here at packitsafe are made from corn starch.
The landscape of single-use packaging is ever-changing, and it’s great to see so many companies taking the initiative in tackling plastic pollution. In the interim, we can watch and learn from many of these companies and think of the next big invention in packaging.