Let’s face it: plastic or plastic is still one of the most important materials for many products worldwide. But that changes slowly. Alternative materials like bamboo and wood are on the rise. A rethinking process has begun that affects not only private consumers stowing their purchases from the supermarket in cloth bags or paper bags.
The keyword is sustainability; Not only we ourselves want to live as resource-efficient as possible and keep our ecological footprint as small as possible. And the same goes for companies.
New Plastics Economy – new ways of recycling
Of course, plastics and plastics from polyethylene to polyurethane are expected to accompany us for many years to come. But the fewer plastic products and the more products there are made of recyclable materials, the better the eco-balance for companies and consumers will be. An important contribution was made by the British sailor Ellen MacArthur with her initiative ” New Plastics Economy “. She joined more than 40 global corporations, companies and cities at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2017, including global players such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Danone.
In the first report one finds: “While plastics and plastic packaging are an integral part of the global economy and deliver many benefits, their value chains currently entail significant drawbacks.” Specifically, three points were highlighted in the 2017 report
- Without a fundamental redesign and innovation, 30 percent of all plastic packaging will never be reused or recycled.
- For at least 20 percent of all plastic packaging, reuse makes economic sense.
- Through joint efforts in the redesign of plastic packaging and the construction of intelligent systems that are used after the use of the plastic, the recycling of another 50 percent would be economical.
Environmental friendliness is worthwhile
And in addition to the redesign and the increased recycling of plastic, there are other ways that serve not only the image. On the one hand, a switch from petroleum-based plastic products to biodegradable plastics, and on the other, the search for alternative materials that are more environmentally friendly in terms of their manufacture, use, and disposal. And these alternatives are also found more and more often in the daily lives of consumers.
So it is much more common nowadays to see people at the cheese counter in the supermarket, who have their Emmentaler stowed away in specially brought boxes and do without plastic packaging. Supermarkets experiment with natural branding. Instead of packaging, the label is lasered directly into the shell of sweet potatoes or avocados. Product designers are experimenting with edible drinking cups, a London start-up is filling water into edible (and even printable !!) water bubbles called Ooho, These are, so to speak, superior to conventional PET bottles, since, in the manufacturing process, nine times less energy and five times fewer Co2 are consumed. Another material that is in focus when it comes to recyclability and environmental friendliness has been known for millennia.
Bamboo – biological, fast growing, reusable
Bamboo is something of a universal material. It serves as a building material for houses, bicycle frames are made in scaffolding and bamboo. Baskets, household materials, musical instruments, weapons – there is almost nothing that could not be made out of or with bamboo. More and more popular is the use of bamboo in the form of dishes.
What began as a trend for children whose parents wanted to give up plastic drinking cups, has now arrived with the adults. To make such a bamboo cup, ground bamboo is mixed with cornmeal. Reusable drinking vessels are dishwasher safe. But there are also cheaper alternatives of ToGo cups made of bamboo wood, which are biodegradable and thus have a great advantage over conventional plastics.
The own mug: Good for the environment and for your wallet
This ecologically valuable advantage of reusability and rapid biodegradability also make such Coffee2Go cups an attractive adult product and promotional item. How often do you get annoyed when you just want to get your coffee around the corner and throw the huge plastic paper cup into the trash? With a beaker made of bamboo and cornstarch or a specially brought stainless steel mug, you do the environment something good.
In the past, you might have looked a bit awkward when you wanted to put the Caffè Latte into your own cup at Starbucks, and today it’s not just used, it’s even rewarded. A 30 cent discount makes the customer’s coffee taste a little better. And these discounts are not just for the coffee giant from Seattle, but also for many other cafes and Coffee2Go chains.