5 Alternatives to plastic

By Ollie Mulkerrins
The fight for climate change has driven recent developments in sustainable packaging and we explore 5 of the most common alternatives to plastics. The...

The fight for climate change has driven recent developments in sustainable packaging and we explore 5 of the most common alternatives to plastics.

The world is becoming more self aware, regarding the damage that non-renewable manufacturing materials can cause our environment. Plastic has earned a reputation as a main offender when it comes to the pollution of our oceans. With Ghostgear and waste plastic debris making up a large proportion of problem, as an island of plastic three times the size of France forms in the Pacific ocean. 

The search for more sustainable practices has driven slew of innovations both high and low-tech. Here is a collection of some of the options manufacturers have on the table if they wish to work towards a more sustainable future.

Beeswax Coated Cloth: Used primarily as a substitute for plastic bags and wrapping. Wax coated canvas or hemp is a durable and water resistant material that is low cost and long lived. This is seeing a rise in use in tote bags and other fashion accessories, not only that but it smells good too.

Wood: A renewable resource that decreases air pollution as it grows, increases the aesthetic of areas it’s grown in and is biodegradable. It sounds obvious but wood is an indispensable tool in the fight against climate change and can be used to replace the need for plastics in kitchen implements, cutting boards and handles. It won’t transfer heat so no fear of burning yourself and won’t leave microplastics as its chips or gets worn down with use. Bamboo has also become a substitute for plastic straws.



Pasta: Speaking of plastic straws a recent development has seen thick pasta tubes replacing straws in bars and restaurants across the world. The material is 100% biodegradable whilst still having a shelf life of 12 months, yet when left in a natural environment will degrade over night.You can also eat it should the mood take you, although it may be a little bland.

Platinum Silicone: Much like glass this is made primarily of sand, carbon and hydrogen. It can be made to be flexible without losing durability and is heat resistant, so it can endure boiling temperatures with no degradation. Due to its ease of manufacturing it is already seeing wide use in voltage insulators, automotive industry, food storage and clothing. 

Cardboard: Many companies have turned to cardboard or paper for sustainable packaging solutions. There is a trend of plastic liningcarboard boxes which prevents them from breaking down without harm to the environment. It is a staple in the packaging industry and new methods of manufacturing have seen a decline in the carbon footprint of its production. 


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