Best alternative to plastic
Would you like to see less plastic in your home and less plastic waste in the world? Here are some long-lasting plastic alternatives available right now.
- Stainless steel - Tough and easy to clean, stainless steel options for reusable food and beverage storage have multiplied in recent years. You can replace single-use cups, kitchen storage, lunch boxes, and more with this durable metal.
- Glass - While not biodegradable, glass is inert, inexpensive and infinitely recyclable. And since many food items come packaged in glass, upcycling glass jars into food storage is a no-cost way to give your food packaging new life. Jars from jam, honey, pickles, nut butters, and so much more can be added to your no-waste toolkit for shopping from the bulk bins. They can also be repurposed to store leftovers and homemade drinks, or decorated and turned into homemade gifts.
- Platinum silicone - Made primarily of sand, food grade platinum silicone is flexible and durable. It’s also heat tolerant, so you can boil, bake, and cook in these products without danger of denaturing. Look for silicone products without plastic fillers.
- Beeswax-coated cloth - Used primarily as a replacement for plastic wrap and platic bags, beeswax-coated fabric is easy to use and easy to clean. It also smells great.
- Natural fiber cloth - Natural cloth can replace plastic bags. Sustainable clothing made from organic cotton, wool, hemp, or bamboo won’t shed plastic fibers when washed. Felted or recycled wool is a versatile, safe, and compostable material for children's toys, household containers, and more
- Wood - A renewable resource, wood from sustainably-managed forests can replace plastic in household items like cleaning brushes, kitchen utensils and cutting boards.
- Bamboo - This fast-growing renewable resource can replace plastic in items like tableware and drinking straws. It is lightweight, durable, and compostable.
- Pottery and Other Ceramics - Around for milennia, pottery and other fired ceramics offer a stable, waterproof alternative that’s good for food storage and tableware. Look for non-toxic glazes.
- Paper - In days gone by, many things were packaged in plain paper. And while better than plastic, paper can’t be recycled infinitely because every time it’s reused, the fibres get shorter, limiting its use. Luckily all paper except the glossy kind is safe to put in your home compost.
- Cardboard - Cardboard is fully compostable at home as long as it’s not coated in, you guessed it, plastic. Many companies are now packaging their products in plain cardboard to cut down on waste. You can also use cardboard boxes to replace storage containers in your home.
Keep in mind that anything you buy has an environmental footprint. Though longer lasting than plastic, things made from glass, metal, and so on still take energy to make and transport. For these swaps to make sense, you need to use them over and over and over again. Buying well-made, durable products will help ensure you get the most use from whatever you choose.
How about BioPlastics?
Bioplastics are biodegradable or compostable plastics made from natural substances instead of petrolem. The idea is that these new, earthier plastics can replace the harmful ones in our food and around our home. This seems like a great alternative, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, most bioplastics don’t break down in home composts, landfills, or loose in the environment.
Most require commercial composting facilities, which aren’t always available to the average consumer.
Bioplastics can also contaminate municipal recycling programs when people unknowingly add them to their recycling. Many bioplastics even contain significant amounts conventional plastic.
Scientists and manufacturers generally describe bioplastics in the following ways:
- Non biodegradable. These bioplastics aren’t easily broken down by organisms. Like anyting (even conventional plastic), they will eventually degrade after many years.
- Partially bio-based, “durable” plastics that are not compostable. Microrganisms can break these down, but the process generally takes longer than 3-6 months.
- Biodegradable, compostable plastics that need commercial facilities to decompose. While some newer bioplastics carry the claim that they will break down in a home compost, these are not yet the norm.
Made from a range of materials like cornstarch and sugar to mushrooms and agricultural byproducts, bioplastics are the latest attempt to prolong our disposable lifestyle.
The solution, according to plastic pollution experts, is not to continue our reliance on single-use products with different materials, but to avoid single-use products altogether. to