We all know that one of the greatest inventions of the modern era is plastic. Low in cost, ease of manufacture, versatility and durability. Plastic has, and still is, transforming the manufacturing and packaging industries.
However, unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years you'll also be aware that the very same synthetic and semi-synthetic compounds and polymers are helping to destroy our planet. Sir David Attenborough recently highlighted the effects on our oceans in the award winning TV show Blue Planet II, and now every man and his dogfish are looking for ways to reduce their 'plastic footprint'.
Whether it's banning drinking straws from a pub chain or making a whole town plastic free, a lot of companies are now striving to take the next step towards becoming plastic-free and coming up with new, innovative production techniques to change the way they package our shopping.
Paper or plastic? How would you like to pay for our planets future?
Iceland (the supermarket, not the country) has announced plastic-free packaging for their two new own-brand ranges - Mumbai Street Co. and Hungry Heroes. This follows its announcement to commit to become the first major retailer globally to eliminate plastic packaging from all of its own brand products by the end of 2023. The frozen food specialist said that the first ranges are to be rolled out as part of the initiative which will save a total of 150 tonnes of plastic every year. Looks like Iceland are trying to give pollution the cold shoulder.
Happy talking, talking, Happy eggs
Ok, so the traditional cardboard crate for storing eggs is already pretty recyclable but we just love the novel packaging produced from heat pressed hay by designer Maja Szcypek.
With 80% of plastic bottles ending up in landfill or our oceans, and then taking about 800 years to biodegrade it's about time someone came up with a replacement. That's where the 'Paper Water Bottle' comes in. The exoskeleton pulp material is made from 100% organic and sustainable combinations of plant-based fibres including bagasse, bulrush, wheat straw and bamboo. The eventual goal is to make their bottle fully compostable. Water-way to help save the planet.
From beach to bottle
Head & Shoulders and Method have produced bottles made with recovered ocean plastic. Using beach clean-up groups and volunteers they collect plastic from the beach and turn it into bottles. They're really doing their best to clean up the planet. Let's just hope those bottles don't end up in the ocean.
The edible solution
Save on washing up by simply eating your crockery... We're not there just yet but some companies are developing plates, cups and other (*cough) consumables to be made from natural grains such as barley and wheat. Safe for most creatures to eat. How tasty they'll be - only time (or your tummy) will tell.
Some supermarkets are looking to introduce compostable packaging as a way to show off their green credentials. These products will breakdown as quick as vegetable waste in a home compost bin. "Fanbloomintastic!" I hear you shout, but there is a downside. If you don't compost them yourself they will simply end up in landfills and give off methane as they degrade. So ultimately depends on the end user and what they do with it.... not so green now, are you?
So what does the future hold... who knows? An end to plastic in our lives... probably not, but a bigger understanding of recycling, waste management and innovation to make our planet greener ...or bluerer!
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