This year, more than ever before, international organisations are beginning to take active action against plastic waste. “By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea” is the big tagline being used currently in the news and media to grab attention and impress upon people the sense of urgency and importance of this issue.
In order to prevent this plastic takeover from happening, the European Commission has developed a strategy to change our societies´ behaviour and attitudes towards plastic. Already for the last 10-16 years in the Nordic countries, there has been a deposit-refund system in place where people are able to get cash back when they return plastic bottles to the supermarket, but this alone is not enough. More schemes like this will begin to be introduced into other European countries, and there will be an increased number of incentives to encourage people to recycle and re-use bottles and other plastic containers themselves. In the UK for example, there is a developing scheme to implement more water fountains across the country, enabling people to refill their bottles as opposed to buying new bottles.
Other alterations we are seeing include more companies charging for the purchase of, and in some cases, eradicating plastic bags, and some bars are now introducing a charge for using plastic straws too. In addition, awareness campaigns are aiming to discourage the usage of single-use plastics, bans on cosmetic products containing microplastics are being put into place, and there will be greater emphasis on using biodegradable and compostable plastics.
We have become extremely dependent on plastic and use it for almost everything, despite the horrific effects it is having on our planet, which will make cutting it out of our diet rather difficult. However, it doesn’t mean the end of the world (yet), as alternative innovations are being discovered and tested that could help us wean off of plastic.
Here are some of the exciting inventions we can expect to be seeing!
Produced by Ecovative, this material is in fact, grown from mushrooms! It can be molded into various shapes and used for packaging, and it is completely compostable as well as cost competitive.
These little water containers are produced by SkippingRocks Lab and are made 100% from plants and seaweed. They biodegrade naturally after 6-8 weeks, are cheaper than plastic and are also edible!
Compostable, degradable, free of GMOs, edible and completely free of plastic, this invention is the first of its kind and is brilliant alternative to plastic straws. The Lolistraw is made from seaweed and has plans to begin being manufactured later this year.
This is another company exploring the use of seaweed to create general food packaging as well as some cosmetic packaging. Again, it is biodegradable, has a shelf life of 2 years and works as a natural fertiliser, as well as being edible and nutritious.
While many cosmetics are coming under scrutiny for containing microplastics, glitter is an overlooked microplastic that is very commonly used. BioGlitz has therefore created a biodegradable glitter made from sustainable, renewably sourced materials, free from GMOs and animal testing.