Alternatives to Plastic

Alternatives to Plastic
Recycled Aluminum Water Bottle: Topo Trail Map

Recycled Aluminum Water Bottle: Topo Trail Map

Although plastic as we know it was introduced less than 100 years ago it has quickly become a staple in our everyday lives – from light switches to cars to computers, plastics are unavoidable. Unfortunately, this explosion in plastic products has been devastating for our environment. Synthetic plastics are not biodegradable, which means that once they’re manufactured they’re going to be with us in our landfills and oceans for hundreds if not thousands of years. There is also a whole laundry list of toxic chemicals that leak into our air, water, and soil from the manufacturing and disposal of plastics. Recycling can help alleviate some of these problems, but the best way to protect the earth from plastics is to replace them with more eco-friendly materials.

Metal, wood, and glass

One of the best ways to get rid of plastic in your home or business is to choose products made from more traditional materials like metal, wood, or glass that are cleaner to manufacture and easier to dispose of.

Sustainable Wood Bookshelf

Sustainable Wood Bookshelf

Glass, along with metals like aluminum and steel, can be recycled indefinitely, meaning they don’t have to end up in landfills, and wood is also easier to reuse and dispose of. These products are usually more expensive, but their durability and green lifecycle make them worth the price.

Another thing to keep in mind: when buying wood products try to make sure they are eco-friendly and come from sustainably harvested forests. You can look for labels from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which certifies that wood products like furniture, paper, and flooring are eco-friendly at every stage of their life from planting to your home. Also try to look for products made from recycled and reclaimed metal and glass.

Replace your plastic with: glass food storage containers, aluminum water bottles, wood sound system


Compostable, eco-friendly bagasse is great for replacing plastic when you need disposable plates, cups, or take-out boxes. Bagasse – the pulp left over when juice is extracted from sugarcane or beets – is used for a variety of purposes including as a biofuel. It can also be pressed into a cardboard-like material used to make waterproof food containers, which is a great use for manufacturing waste that would otherwise be thrown away. And because it’s made from plants it will biodegrade easily in a home or industrial compost pile.

Replace your plastic with: vegware party pack, bagasse cups, bagasse plates

PLA Compostable Deli Containers and Lids

PLA Compostable Deli Containers and Lids

Sometimes it’s hard to find non-plastic versions of the products you need, so when you have to rely on plastics try to find eco-friendly ones. PLA or CPLA are made from corn instead of petroleum while taterware is a similar material made from potato starch. Both will biodegrade in industrial compost sites, although be cautious when purchasing these products as some are not compostable in home compost bins. Many companies are also now starting to manufacture bottles and packaging using PLA or other plastics made from non-petroleum sources.

Replace your plastic with: PLA cups, compostable trash bags, taterware cutlery


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