Plastic Alternatives: A Growing Market
Plastic. It’s everywhere around us. In our homes, cars, the environment, the ocean. It’s harmful to wildlife, isn’t biodegradable, and releases toxins into the air when burned. We can all do our part to decrease future plastic use. It can be as small as not using plastic straws, using reusable bags when shopping, and avoiding plastic packaging. Additionally, it can be as large as the innovations by an industry who dedicate themselves to developing plastic alternatives.
Here are a few companies leading the way:
Newlight Technologies AirCarbon
Newlight Technologies is a California-based company that has created a plastic alternative called AirCarbon. They use microorganisms from the ocean to turn methane and carbon dioxide into a polymer. These polymers work just like plastic, but break down naturally. It’s a carbon-negative product, meaning that during production they use more carbon than the product puts out when it breaks down.
There are two companies selling the product. Restore in the form of cutlery, and Covalent in the form of accessories. However, the plan is to grow from there. AirCarbon hopes to replace plastics around the world.
Biolive is a Turkish company creating plastics from olive seeds, and it’s helping solve not only the plastic problem, but waste coming from olive oil extraction. Their plastic is 100% biodegradable, antibacterial, edible, and more cost-effective than traditional plastics. So far, they’ve worked with Chobani, Porsche, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz.
MarinaTex is a UK-based company making single-use plastic sheets out of marine products such as algae and waste from fish processing. A large issue in certain parts of the world. It’s 100% biodegradable in soil. While not on the shelves yet, it does have potential for use in packaging and plastic bags. It’s the perfect example of an innovative way to encourage the use of circular economies.
MycoComposite by EcovativeDesign
New York company EcovativeDesign is creating packaging alternatives using 100% compostable materials. MycoComposite is just one of those materials; it uses mycelium, A.K.A. mushroom roots, and agricultural waste to create packaging. The roots helps the waste stay together. It has use for coolers, planters, shipping wine, and possibly building materials. Right now, several companies such as Magical Mushroom Company, Paradise Packaging Co., and Grown Bio take advantage of the packaging.
NotPla is made from seaweed, it breaks down in just a few weeks. Right now, it’s used in several things, including Ooho, an edible plastic alternative. It’s used to package single-serving water and drinks. They also create bags for sauces. It’s also being used to line cardboard containers with NotPla Liners. And that’s just the beginning. More non-food packaging products are in development.
Seed Phytonutrients is a beauty brand using compostable materials to create sustainable packaging. Their shower curtains have a recycled plastic inner liner, and a recycled paper outer liner. It’s treated with clay, so it’s waterproof. A bonus package of seeds comes with every package. All of the formulas are at least 93% natural, cruelty-free, and contain no sulfates.
Whether you want plastic alternatives for personal or business use, check out Oceanworks. They have several different types of materials. All from recycled plastic, from resins to nylon to textiles. There’s buttons, yarn, and fabric. Additionally, you can even build your own resin. They work with manufacturers globally, ridding our oceans of plastic and use it to make recycled material.
The world of plastic alternatives is a growing industry. We can all take steps towards finding alternatives in our lives. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Likely, whatever plastic free product you’re looking for exists. You just have to look!