Since the plastics appeared in the society in 1950, they have expanded dramatically having multiple uses in various industries like clothing, medicine, transport, electronics, construction. There’s no doubt that plastics have brought many social and economic advantages. However, the pace of adoption hasn’t been weighted against the social and environmental damage.
Fortunately, the population has started to become more aware of plastic’s negative impact on the environment. The plastic debris in the ocean has become a point of concern for the international organizations. Therefore, the authorities are sending an imperative message to find sustainable alternatives. While we cannot remove plastics totally from our society, it is important to find alternatives to reduce our dependence.
5 most wonderful eco-friendly materials to replace the plastic
Do you remember how your mom used to store the food in glass jars or bottles? Take a look in the kitchen today and count how many plastic recipients you have in comparison to the ones made of glass. It can be a viable alternative for plastic as it is made of sand. It doesn’t contain any chemicals that can end up in your food and then in your body. If we think from the environmental perspective, glass is recyclable. Of course, the glass recipients are more sensitive to accidents and they can break. But, if you think that it doesn’t harm the environment, you will be more careful the next time you handle a glass jar.
- Milk protein
The scientist have discovered that milk protein can be used to produce biodegradable plastic. It can be used for packaging, furniture cushions, or insulation. The main protein found in milk is casein. Scientists consider that it can be transformed into a biodegradable material that can be compared to polystyrene in terms of stiffness and compressibility. What is more, the plastic made of protein is less toxic and it doesn’t crack very easy.
- Edible cutlery made of wheat, rice, and millets
It may seem crazy to be able to eat your cutlery, but if we think of all the plastic forks and spoons that end up in the ocean, this seems a good idea. These eco-friendly utensils are made of simple grains and a touch of salt. They can be an excellent nutritious alternative for anyone. What is more, the producers don’t add any fat or emulsifiers. This extends the product’s shelf life. The main ingredient used is sorghum flour which doesn’t require too much energy for cultivation. According to the producer’s declarations, they use the same energy to produce one plastic utensil or 100 edible spoons.
- Chicken feathers
Chicken feathers contain a substance called keratin, comparable to plastic in terms of durability and toughness. The US scientists have discovered that they can use chicken feathers to produce a thermoplastic resistant to water. After several tests and studies, they have reached to the conclusion that this type of plastic is more resistant to tearing then that made from soy or starch. In addition, it doesn’t cost too much and is fully biodegradable.
- PLA Polyesters
PLA comes from polylactic acid. Wheat or sugarcane can be used to produce PLA. The remarkable thing about is that it can decompose in approximately 47 days. What is more, in case you burn PLA polyesters, they don’t release any toxic fumes. It can be efficiently used as a packaging solution in automotive parts or coffee cups.
Plastics are still popular for their flexibility and durability. But, we shouldn’t forget about the negative impact they have on the environment. It is difficult to recycle plastics and they are also non-biodegradable, which raises even more concerns for the future. The plastic debris in the oceans is already a red flag for everyone. So, even though we cannot remove all the products made of plastic from our life, we can at least try to find as many eco-friendly alternatives as possible.