Will your next straw outlast you? It’s very likely. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the average plastic straw takes about 200 years to degrade, creating choking hazards for animals and a time-released toxin guaranteed to harm the environment for two centuries. And that’s only one source of plastic pollution that’s doing major harm to the planet.
Each year, 14 million tons of plastic enter the ocean, polluting global waters and causing injury or death to marine animals. In 2018, 27 million tons of plastics entered U.S. landfills. All that waste shows how important it is for us to consume products in eco-conscious and sustainable ways.
One startup in London might have the solution, using seaweed as an alternative to plastic packaging and containers. Here’s what you need to know about their products and how a seaweed plastic alternative might soon show up in your life.
Creating Packaging Products That Disappear in Weeks
Yes, consumers want some plastic products to stand the test of time, but plenty of plastic packaging materials and containers are intended for single use only. The sooner they biodegrade after their intended purpose, the better. That has been one of the primary goals of the biotechnology startup Notpla.
By creating a biodegradable seaweed plastic alternative, they are offering a wide range of companies with materials that can fully deteriorate in four to six weeks rather than the 20 to 500 years it takes a variety of plastics to fully break down.
The brown seaweed they harvest, dry, and ground into a powder is combined with terrestrial plants to produce containers of varying thickness and purposes that can serve everything from the food and beverage industry to the CPG sector. Plus, this plastic-alternative can be completely edible and digestible. That means, depending on the type of packaging you receive, you can ingest it or just put it into the composting heap when you’re done.
How Notpla Plans to Use Their Seaweed Plastic Alternative
Since their inception in 2014, Notpla has invented a wide range of possible uses for their plastic that can revolutionize packaging. Here are just a few of the uses they’re showcasing:
Imagine you’re watching your favorite team go head-to-head with their rivals. As a player steps onto the sidelines or bench, they might be handed one of Notpla’s Oohos, a double-membrane that contains water or an energy drink, to hydrate them or replenish their electrolytes. They eat the packaging and rejuvenate themselves for the game without creating needless plastic waste.
Maybe you’re out at a catered event, ordering a premade cocktail from the bartender or server. Instead of bringing you back a glass that you must hold and watch carefully, they could hand you a novel drinking experience in an edible vessel. It’s fun and delicious!
Or maybe you’re ordering takeout and you’re not only given a food container with packaging that will decompose in a matter of weeks, but condiment packs that you can eat or compost when you’re done.
These are just some of the examples that are being pioneered by this startup and other companies. Soon, you might even see more seaweed-based paper or packaging that can give consumers what they need without all the added guilt.
If these companies choose to include sustainably harvested seaweed in their products – like our high-quality, food-safe Acadian SeaPlus™ products – they can help ocean ecosystems flourish as they prevent plastic from piling up.
Are you looking to learn more about a seaweed plastic alternative or other innovations? Reach out to the experts at Acadian SeaPlus™ for the latest seaweed science that can help your business.