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Plastic Alternatives

The world’s reliance on plastic has reached a point where it is no longer a question as to whether there should be alternatives. 

Recycling is great but having a plastic alternative is better. A company in Indonesia, Aavni Eco based in Bali, created a ‘plastic’ bag from cassava starch. Cassava is a root vegetable that grows throughout Southeast Asia and is a staple in the local diet. The bags look and feel like plastic but they’re compostable and biodegradable, and they dissolve in water. 

Even if marine life came across this dissolving bag, they would not be harmed by accidentally eating it. South Koreans are turning to edible rice straws. The straws look like plastic straws and can hold their shape for two to three hours in hot drinks, and longer in cold drinks. The straws are 70% rice with cassava or tapioca making up the balance. This gives the straws durability and a smooth texture.    

A local farmer at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, Farmer Angus, released the first 100% compostable burger packaging. In a blog post last December, Farmer Angus spoke about the new packaging for their retail burgers as well as the effects of plastic on marine life. 

But not all alternatives need to be great innovations. Using what’s readily available is also a viable option. A supermarket in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is using banana leaves to wrap their fresh produce. This greatly reduces the use of plastic wrap that marine life often mistake for jellyfish. It also has the potential to be cheaper for retailers and thus also for customers.

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