One of the biggest problems our planet faces is plastic pollution. Despite the global effort to raise awareness of the importance of recycling, over 90% of plastics still end up in landfills or polluting our oceans.
Fortunately, there is more you can do than just recycling your single-use plastics. Swapping out everyday plastics for greener alternatives can reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. This process doesn't have to be a difficult one. Ditching single-use plastics and embracing these 8 plastic alternatives could take you a few steps closer to a more sustainable lifestyle.
Glass is a great alternative to plastic bottles and food containers. This non-toxic material is free from harmful chemicals found in plastic and there's little evidence to suggest that it's associated with negative impacts on health.
Glass is less porous than plastic and has a high resistance to leaching, meaning you can store products in glass bottles and containers for long periods without chemicals leaking into them.
Hemp plastics are stronger and lighter than petroleum-based plastics. This means that they are more durable and are less likely to break, making them a safer option than virgin resins, single-use plastics, plastic construction materials, and more. They are also more lightweight which can benefit the user in many ways, especially if it's being used as a container or for vehicle materials.
One of the best things about hemp is that it's biodegradable, which means it can be decomposed naturally, thereby reducing pollution. The production of hemp also doesn't harm the planet.
Sugarcane "plastic" is becoming a common alternative to traditional plastics in products such as water bottles, children's toys and packaging.
Through advances in technology, sugar-based Ethanol can now be further processed to create a green alternative to the polyethene usually made from oil, benefitting from the same physical properties of polyethene plastic but with planet-supporting benefits.
While sugarcane plastics aren't biodegradable, they are 100% recyclable, unlike traditional PE plastic products that are often combined with other plastics making them difficult to recycle. Sugarcane also absorbs one of our planet's biggest pollutants, carbon dioxide, whereas the manufacture of traditional plastics from oil does the opposite, releasing carbon into the earth's soil during its manufacture.
Biodegradable plastics are currently used for disposable items, like packaging, bags, bottles, and more. There are two main types; oxo-biodegradable (OBP) and hydro-biodegradable (HBP). Both materials are compostable and the former is recyclable. OBPs are made by adding small portions of fatty acid compounds to traditional plastics, whereas HBPs are made from bio-based sources, like corn, wheat and sugar cane.
While they are often combined with petroleum-based plastics which aren't good for the environment, they do improve their properties and make them more eco-friendly than before.
You may have spotted this form of biodegradable plastics being introduced as a replacement for traditional plastic bags in your local supermarkets.
Compared to plastic or alternatives like glass, stainless steel lasts for a long time, is corrosion resistant and it doesn't leach chemicals when exposed to heat or sunlight. However, it's usually more expensive and requires a lot of energy to produce. But this doesn't stop stainless steel from being one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly plastic alternatives available.
Stainless steel can be used to store liquids of any kind and is often used to create reusable straws, bottles, and flasks. It can also be used to replace plastic-based building and vehicle materials.
With paper straws flooding the food and hospitality industry, it's becoming a widely used alternative to single-use plastics. It's also commonly used as food packaging and for shopping bags. This is because the paper is more biodegradable and can be recycled easily compared to plastic. It can also be recycled up to 7 times before the fibres become too short to be used for paper production.
Bamboo products are made from an ecological and very sustainable material that, unlike plastic, is biodegradable. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which are naturally found in the tree trunk to protect itself against fungus and insect attacks. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world and it doesn't require harmful pesticides or chemicals to grow.
From kitchen items like chopping boards, cutlery and plates, to toothbrushes and razor handles in the bathroom, bamboo is already being widely used as a plastic alternative in the home.
Natural fibres make a great alternative to plastic microfibres such as polyester, nylon and acrylic used to make clothing and other fashion items. Natural fibres are produced by geological processes or derived from plants and animals. Some examples of natural fibres include wool, silk, and cotton, so shopping for clothing made from these materials is highly advised.
Natural fibres are very environmentally sustainable and often biodegradable. They're durable, breathable and moisture-wicking, and can be used without depleting or damaging the environment.
Start Your Plastic-Free Journey
You can start your plastic-free journey by shopping at nookary. Our mission is to offer sustainable products that are as effective as they are lovely to use.
We have a wide selection of refills that are better for you, your home and the planet, alongside reusable pouches and bottles that are both beautifully practical and practically beautiful.