Disposable tableware and plastic straws are going to be abolished in the European Union by 2021, which is why more and more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic are coming onto the market. We want to present some of the most popular items in this article.
A nice barbecue with friends – and a whole garbage bag is already filled with plastic. Meat, grilled cheese or vegetables are often sealed in plastic. The plates are also made of plastic, just like the cutlery and the cups. Of course, everyone could bring their own dishes from home, but it is easier to throw everything away instead of washing the dishes later.
But unfortunately this behavior also has its price. Every piece of plastic is a slap in the face for our environment. This is no longer necessary. In recent years, many sustainable startups have tried to produce greener alternatives. Single use plastic can now be replaced quite easily.
Here are some sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic
1. Alternatives to plastic straws
Alternatives to single-use plastic straws have been available for quite some time: straws made of paper, for instance. However, they soften up quickly and take about a month to decompose. So paper is not the ideal solution either. But there are other eco-friendly alternatives:
Straws of metal
Straws made of metal are made from stainless steel and can be bought both in stores and online shops. The big advantage is that they can be used almost “forever”, unlike most other alternatives. But the cleaning is a bit complicated, because it is not easy to clean the tube.
The same applies to glass straws.
Using raw pasta as straws
The trend of macaroni straws has developed in many restaurants. Macaroni pasta is similar in length to spaghetti, but has a much larger opening and is therefore very suitable as a sustainable alternative to plastic straws. Their decay takes only one day and they are completely biodegradable due to the only ingredients being water and wheat.
The Wisefood company has created straws that last an hour in the drink, and are also edible. Although its taste is sweet, it does not affect the taste of the drink. If you eat the straw, no garbage is produced at all. And if you do not want to eat it but dispose of it in the garbage, it is still 100% biodegradable.
2. Disposable tableware
In addition to paper plates, many other sustainable alternatives have become available over time.
One popular alternative are sugar cane plates. The sugar cane itself comes from Asia and is first rolled and pressed in order to extract the sugar juice. Its fibers are then ground with water and lignin – a natural binding agent – processed and pressed into plates. Sugar cane plates are resistant to cold, heat, water and grease and are even microwave-safe. Since sugar cane is sustainable and fully compostable, it is a very good and eco-friendly alternative to single use plastic.
The wood-looking bamboo tableware made from the bamboo plant has also arrived in most stores. There are now plates, cutlery and even straws made of bamboo. From a purely visual point of view, it has something of toy dishes due to its chunky design, but is very stable and completely compostable.
Wheat bran plates
Wheat bran is a by-product of flour production and is often sorted out as waste. This waste, however, in combination with water and other chemical substances, can serve as an alternative to plastic tableware. Since edible wheat bran is used in its production, it is theoretically even edible and completely biodegradable. And since wheat bran, unlike bamboo or sugar cane, does not have to travel long distances from Asia but can be sourced locally, it emerges as the winner of eco-friendly alternative dishes.
3. Drinking cups
PLA drinking cups
From a visual point of view, PLA cups are very similar to plastic cups. The difference, however, is that they are made from cornstarch and are fully compostable within sixty days. PLA cups are only used once, but are robust and unbreakable. Still, being a form of bio-plastics, PLA is arguably less eco-friendly than our next alternative:
Reusable cups made of bamboo
Throughout the coffee to go industry, tons of plastic and paper cups are used every day. So the goal is not only to switch to sustainable, but to reusable cups. Bamboo cups are very suitable because they are stable and can be used several times. However, care should be taken to buy cups that consist exclusively of bamboo and do not contain any added plastics.
One-way plastic is unnecessary anyway.
Plastic pollutes the environment and is increasingly accumulating in the world’s oceans. We want to support compostable and sustainable packaging and products that bring us closer to a circular economy. Thanks to the numerous alternatives, it should no longer be a problem in the future to get rid off disposable single-use plastic entirely.
Read more about the concept of the circular economy and how important it is to rethink our future: