In the hundred years since plastic was introduced, it has taken over our lives, pervading throughout our households and workplaces.
Unfortunately though, this explosion of plastic has been anything but positive for the environment. Sadly, plastics are not biodegradable, this means the material lingers on our planet indefinitely, flooding our landfill sites and oceans. On top of this, there is a long list of toxic materials that leak into our water, air and soil from the production of plastic.
Whilst recycling can certainly help this issue, it is estimated in America alone that only 1% of the 7 billion pounds of PVC is recycled each year. Yet, plastic is now so ingrained into our daily lifestyle that it is hard to imagine any alternatives.
To help you avoid unnecessary plastic use and do your bit for the environment, we have put together a list of great plastic alternatives to go green.
In an age recently past, glass was all the rage. Particularly when it came to bottled drinks such as cola and milk. Look around now and all you’ll see is plastic bottles as far as the eye can see. Whilst looking to the future is generally best, in this instance we would encourage looking back a little. Unlike plastic, glass is is not made from fossil fuels and can be recycled very easily. The best bit is you can simply keep reusing the bottles for any purpose you choose and warm them in the microwave.
Whilst shoppers used to be offered the choice between plastic and paper bags, that choice has all but evaporated in the plastic-mad world we now live in. The almost omnipresent feeling of plastic bags is not in our heads – over 1 billion plastic bags passed through the US alone last year with only 1% being recycled. The answer of course is reusable bags made from biodegradable materials such as canvas, cotton, hemp and, occasionally, leather. Using reusable bags not only helps the environment, but it also frees up space in your cupboards!
Bagasse is a fibrous material that is left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane. It is a fantastic alternative to to plastic, particularly for items such as disposable plates, boxes or cups. Bagasse is incredibly versatile and is often used in biofuel and can be pressed into a cardboard-like material that is often used to make waterproof food containers. The best bit is because its made from plant material, you can literally chuck it in your compost and watch it decompose.
Okay, so sometimes you can’t get around it, you ned to use plastic. So what do in that situation? The best thing you can do is to use eco-friendly plastics such as PLA or CPLA. These are made from corn instead of petroleum and are biodegradable. Be careful though, some of these plastics cannot be used in home composite bins. Whilst still not widespread, many companies are beginning to manufacture bottles and other products using non-petroleum plastics.
PVC Air Mattresses
The best inflatable mattresses are made from PVC, a plastic that contains a number of harmful chemicals including hormone-disrupting phthalates. Have you ever noticed the smell when you pull out your inflatable mattress from the cupboard? Well that smell is produced from the chlorine that accompanies the toxic chemical plasticizers. These toxins are found in the vinyl used in all air beds and mattresses. Luckily, airbed companies such as The Soft Landing are now producing PVC-free air mattresses for a much greener nights sleep. They’re made from TPU and nylon and weigh up to 40% lighter than standard air beds, according to research from The Sleep Studies.
We hope you have enjoyed this article on great plastic alternatives to go green.
Whilst it’s true that plastic seems like it’s here to stay for now, it that doesn’t mean we have to use it for everything. As can be seen above, there are plenty of alternatives and little things we can do to help the environment and make our lifestyles are little more green.
Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.