Alternatives to single use plastic

What we can use instead of plastic

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt

Single use plastic is seldom the best option, there are better alternatives, many of them used for hundreds or thousand of years – and today science is being inspired more by these traditional materials and ways that under the industrialization, where focus was more on making more, cheaper and without any thought of the circular nature of products

Nature is a true master of recycling, it do it in ways that seems both without effort, are beautiful, complex and alive… There are many ways we can be inspired by this. And as science better and better understand nature we also understand how our products can be inspired or even grown to fit in better

Replacing single use plastic

There are at least three ways we can use alternatives to single use plastic:

Finding and innovating natural alternatives

Bananas are wrapped in their own simple, organic and beautiful packaging, the same are nuts, seeds, eggs and many other “products” in nature. There are many ways traditional cultures use this, like using coconuts and animal bladders for water carrying.

Now science are also starting to wonder if nature could inspire our ways to build products, so we grow them more than we put them together, using organic biodegradable materials

Wood, ceramics, glass and metal – using and innovating other materials than plastic

Ceramics, wood, straw, glass and metal have been used for thousand of years as packaging to preserve and protect both food and other products. – We still use them, but more and more often they are replaced by plastic packaging. Maybe it doesn’t be this way – maybe your next earphones could be delivered in a ceramic or wood box and only consist of metal and organic materials

High end, multi-use plastics

Using high-quality plastic re-use is much more easy to make possible, one example from Denmark is the national recycle system where beverages are sold using a simple return payment for the bottle ( around 0.20 USD ) A system that is so successful that almost all bottles fitting into the system is recycled and re-used. Some of them just washed and cleaned before they re-enter the shops and are sold again


Alternatives to plastic non texted drawing. Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Alternatives to plastic. Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

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