Plastic is harmful in many ways, from the global plastic pollution problem that chokes our planet to the toxins that wreak havoc on our health and wildlife. And considering that it takes plastics hundreds of years to break down in nature, these problems could stay with us for lifetimes.
As ubiquitous as plastic has become, it can be easy to accept it as a nasty habit we just can’t kick — but this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In fact, there are countless mind-blowing technologies that are currently working to break our dependence on plastic. From edible produce wrap to baby shoes that can dissolve in water, here are five of the most futuristic plastic alternatives available today.
The plastic film that coats so much of our fruits and vegetables is a double-edged sword. Without it, fruits and vegetables often spoil faster and contribute to our massive food waste issue, but with it, we use more crude oil and dirty energy to manufacture plastic. Apeel Sciences might have found the sheath to this sword, with its edible, plastic-free produce wrap that helps fruits and vegetables stay fresh for up to three days longer than traditional coatings.
As easy as coffee pods have made our mornings, they add a lot of dangerous waste to our environment — nearly 65 million pods per year in America. Thankfully, there are easy remedies to the pollution problems stemming from these products. Whether going old-fashioned with coffee grinds and filters or trying compostable coffee tea bags from Steeped Coffee, you can have your morning cup(s) of coffee sans plastic.
To-go coffee cups
Plastic can be a very stealthy material, and to-go coffee cups are the perfect example of this. On the outside, they look like unsuspecting paper cups that hold your cup of joe on the go, but what many don’t see is that somewhat glossy plastic film lining the inside of these cups to make them liquid-proof. This thin plastic layer renders most coffee cups unrecyclable, which sends more waste to landfills. But The Good Cup has developed a smartly-designed recyclable and compostable cup that folds at the top to allow for easy pouring, sipping, and reopening — all without the trash problem.
This may seem out of place in a discussion about plastic trash, but considering that babies need new footwear every two to three months, their shoes can be a major source of landfill waste and pollution. But Woolybubs, a company founded by two parents, is tackling that problem with its revolutionary baby shoes that can literally be dissolved in water once your little one outgrows them.
Recent research shows that we are steeping more than just tea when using tea bags — a single tea bag can release 11.6 billion microplastics into just one cup of tea. For a fresher, more natural, and flavorful cup of tea, there are endless options for loose-leaf tea that won’t slip tiny plastics into your body with each sip — including Numi, Harney & Sons, DAVIDsTEA, Arbour Teas, and Guayakí.
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