Innovative Solutions to Reduce Plastic Use
A contemporary existence without plastic would be unthinkable. Plastic is everywhere: the packaging materials, bottles and cups, and toys; the vehicle parts, ships, trains, satellites, and space stations; or even glasses, watches, and one’s smartphone that employ plastic components.
It’s grown so widespread that some have labeled the present era of human history as the Plastics Age.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC has created a coating using silicate and biopolymers. It may be utilized in various food packaging applications. They include preserving biopolymer packaging and food from premature deterioration and are biodegradable.
The novel coatings may enhance the performance of bio-based and biodegradable packaging, which alone cannot ensure the requisite minimum shelf life of many food goods.
Edible bottles of water
Plastic water bottles must be one of the most absurd examples of plastic pollution. Not only do the majority of the developed world’s cities now have tap water that is safe to drink, but there is also an increasing number of refill stations and water fountains where reusable bottles may be refilled.
There are several approaches to this issue. First, we must educate people about the consequences and give simple alternatives that allow for water access in public places in towns and cities. Secondly, we must exert pressure on the prominent brands that are responsible for the majority of garbage. Finally, we must seek innovation to develop novel solutions.
Jonathan Osler says that one of these novel ideas is the edible water bottle. As strange as it seems, start-up Skipping Rocks Labs has developed a blob-like container composed of sodium alginate that can store water in a tiny pouch that may be safely eaten.
Technology has begun to make a presence in popular culture. This year, it was employed in the London marathon, when volunteers distributed tiny edible capsules filled with Lucozade energy drinks instead of throwaway water bottles or cups.
While this technology has limitations compared to plastic bottles, it is in applications such as these that make practical sense and can decrease single-use plastic significantly.
Suppose the first-best answer to combatting this plastic epidemic is finding natural replacements. In that case, the second stage entails making plastics biodegradable and doing it in a sustainable and cheap method at scale. Mechanical recycling includes sifting, melting, and remodeling polymers into lower-grade plastic items. But this technique is restricted in nature since the performance qualities of plastics diminish with every recycling.
Following the declaration in Davos, eleven top brands, retailers, and packaging firms are aiming towards utilizing one hundred percent reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by 2025 or sooner.
Jonathan Osler advises that these ambitious promises, together with the correct regulatory incentives and demonstrations of radical innovation, offer us the most significant possibility of constructing a plastics system that works.
The solutions to curb the world’s plastic issue are many. It will need governments at both the national and subnational levels to address the regulation of single-use plastic items, deciding on the policy measures to take and the sort of legislation that will best support their aims.