How can we replace plastics?

Posted by Lisa on December 19, 2022
Table of Contents


    Plastics are a great invention. Not only do they make things lighter and more durable, but they also have a variety of uses. Unfortunately, these benefits come at a cost: They're made from petroleum, which is an extremely limited resource that's responsible for global warming. Additionally, the chemicals used to manufacture plastics can pollute the environment if released into the ocean or landfills. We've spent decades learning how to make plastics better and safer for our planet; now we need to figure out how we can eliminate them completely.


    Glass is a natural material, and so it's good for the environment. It's strong and durable, which means that it can be recycled many times. Most types of glass are not biodegradable, but they can withstand temperatures as high as 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (540 Celsius). Glass can also be made from sand and soda ash.

    In fact, glass has been used for thousands of years!


    Paper is the second most common material in the U.S., after plastic. It's made from trees and can be recycled—so it's not as bad for the environment as some other materials are. The paper products we use every day—such as newspapers, magazines, books and cardboard boxes—are biodegradable and do not contain any toxic materials that would harm the environment if they were to be thrown away in a landfill or flushed down a drain.


    Bamboo is a natural and renewable resource that can be used to make a variety of products. It's stronger than steel, and it requires less water than other crops like cotton or wheat. Bamboo is also biodegradable, so it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases or contribute to landfills.

    In addition to being an eco-friendly material, bamboo has the potential to become a replacement for plastic food containers in the future. The only challenge is that bamboo is more expensive than plastic and therefore may not be financially viable for companies who need cheap containers for large-scale manufacturing purposes.


    The advantages of wood are many. First, it's a renewable resource: trees grow back and can be replanted. Second, it's biodegradable (though it takes decades to break down). Third, it can be made into compostable materials that don't pollute the oceans when they end up there as trash. Finally, unlike plastics and aluminum cans which cannot decompose in landfills because their chemical structure will not allow them to break down safely without releasing toxins that harm the environment if incinerated instead of recycled properly with other organic matter.1

    Wood is used for packaging because it’s strong enough to hold heavy items without being damaged by water or scratches like paper would be over time; however this also means that wood isn't recyclable like paper could potentially be if made from recycled content which increases its value as an eco-friendly material choice

    Recycled plastics

    With so many plastic products being used every day, recycling has become a huge industry. Recycling is the process of taking used materials and making them into new products. In some cases, recycled plastic can be used to make new plastic products.

    Plastics are also used to make other things besides plastics: furniture and clothing, for example. Some people think this is better than just throwing away the old stuff!

    Recycling isn’t perfect though; sometimes it's hard to know what type of product you're looking at when you see "plastic." Some plastics aren't recyclable or biodegradable at all! And some types of plastic can even be dangerous if they get into your body (like BPA).


    Metal is a good alternative to plastic. It's durable, long lasting and recyclable. Metal is a good conductor of heat and cold; it will conduct heat better than plastic but not as well as glass.

    Beeswax and other natural products

    Beeswax is a natural product. It is used for candles, cosmetics and other products. Beeswax can be made from the wax that bees produce.

    Edible bowls

    • Bamboo

    Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, meaning it's a renewable resource. It can be made into bowls, cutting boards and even utensils. It's also naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial!

    • Wood

    Wooden bowls are another great option since they're pretty timeless and can last for years if you take good care of them. Some people use wood that has fallen from trees or branches on their property, while others purchase wooden bowls at stores like Ikea or Crate & Barrel. If you want something more rustic-looking than plastic platters, wood could be your best bet!

    • Recycled Plastics

    Recycled plastics can also work well for this purpose—they're durable enough to withstand hot temperatures so long as they've been cleaned thoroughly first (which isn't difficult). Be sure to check out your city's recycling facility before buying any kind of plastic container though; some cities have bans against recycling certain types of items such as Styrofoam cups because they feel like these products require too many resources during production compared with traditional materials like glass bottles which are less harmful when burned off during incineration processes."

    Plastics can be replaced but we need a concerted effort to do so.

    Plastics can be replaced, but it's not going to be easy.

    Plastics are ubiquitous in our lives: they make up most of the packaging we use and come in everything from clothing to electronics. But plastics are not renewable. They're made from fossil fuels (like oil) and when we use them, they go straight into landfills or oceans where they will sit for centuries without breaking down—leaving behind a toxic legacy for future generations to clean up after us.

    But what about recycling? Isn't that better for the environment? Not necessarily; recycling plastic is actually very energy-intensive and may even produce more greenhouse gas emissions than generating new plastic if you take into account all steps involved in collecting, sorting, melting down scrap material into pellets used to make new products and transporting those pellets back out again (often halfway around the world). Plus, many types of recycled materials aren't fully recyclable due to impurities present after processing—these become "contaminants" that have no market value so often end up being disposed as waste anyway!


    The key to this is that we need to be more conscious about what we buy and use. We can make smarter choices by buying products made from renewable materials, or choosing paper over plastic. There are plenty of alternatives out there if you look hard enough!

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