Home Off Beat Sustainable Substitutes for Plastic that Never Lose their Usability

Sustainable Substitutes for Plastic that Never Lose their Usability

by DrPrem Jagyasi

While plastic is a flexible, malleable and durable material, it is harmful for our environment, especially because many types of plastic are non-biodegradable and cannot be recycled. Plastic is made of carbon polymers that are petroleum byproducts. This is the reason plastic is dangerous for people, as well as the environment. Thus, there is a need to look for plastic alternatives even though plastic has become a very important part of our everyday lives. Check out some of the eco-friendly substitutes that can replace plastic in varied products and applications.

Glass

Close-up of a young woman drinking a glass of milk

Unlike plastic, this material is made of sand. Glass is a renewable material that comes without any harmful chemicals. Glass can also be easily recycled. Due to these reasons, it is gaining popularity over plastic when it comes to manufacturing bottles, jars, mugs, utensils, etc. You may not only throw your glass bottles for recycling purposes, but may also reuse them for storage. It does not cause any reaction with your food or body. Thus, this lightweight material is a great green alternative to plastic.

Metal

Recycled steel_1

Plastic is largely used in many things like vehicles to make structural elements. In fact, this could be replaced by making metallic elements that are safer for our environment. Steel and some other metals are produced using mined ores collected from under the ground. Some metals are also produced as a result of the recycling process. Thus, you may safely use these metals to create a variety of products currently made out of plastic.

PHB Bio Composite

PHB Bio Composite

This material is bacteria-made and is completely biodegradable. While PHB bio composite is a little less flexible as compared to plastic, it can replace plastic in several applications. It can find good use in industries like agriculture and biomedicine.

Liquid Wood

Liquid Wood_1

Liquid wood is a new biopolymer that looks quite promising for future uses in applications where plastic is currently being used. While this material looks and works like plastic, it is actually biodegradable unlike plastic. Liquid wood is derived from a renewable material called pulp-based lignin, which itself is a byproduct of paper mills. Liquid wood is now being treated as a wonderful plastic substitute for making things like speaker boxes and toys.

Corn Polylactides

Corn Polylactides

As the name suggests, this material is created out of corn. It can be quickly decomposed and it does not emit any toxic gases when burnt. It is a nice green substitute for plastic. Corn polylactides (PLA) can be used to make various types of consumer products that use plastic. However, it is better to use corn plastic products while not mixing them with regular plastic items.

Fabric

fabrics made of hemp,

Various types of fabrics made of hemp, cotton, wool or plant-based fibers can be wonderful alternatives for plastic. These fabrics can be used to make a wide range of items like bags. Fabric products are also more durable and long lasting.

Starch-based polymers

Starch-based polymers

Starch can give us low-cost, natural, renewable and biodegradable polymers that are effective substitutes for plastic. However, this material has limited use because of its poor mechanical properties.

Summary:

There are various alternatives for toxic and non-biodegradable plastic that can now be used in several applications and products. The need is to reduce the use of plastic in manufacturing and adopt these greener and safer substitutes.