When we think about cutting plastics out of our day, our minds usually gravitate to single-use plastics. We ditch the disposable drink bottles, say sayonara to plastic straws, spoons, and forks, and we bring our own reusable bags to the shops!
These are all amazing places to start that create such an amazing impact and we are so darn excited for each and every zero-waste enthusiast jumping on the plastic-free train.
Unfortunately, our contact with plastic really can be a bit more complicated than this.
From the clothing we wear to the cars we drive, there are plastics in our furniture, in our food, and recently discovered in our bodies. The plastic problem only seems to be getting louder.
So why can’t we just stop? Well, the problem is that finding an alternative to plastic that is as durable and versatile has been a tricky feat - that is, until now!
Get ready to be proud as punch Aussie’s because Perth-based company, ULUU is turning seaweed into the world’s best plastic alternative yet!
Replacing Plastic with Seaweed
Sounds crazy right? Before you start imagining a world wrapped in seaweed (hello sushi land!) let’s get familiar with what this plastic alternative really is!
ULUU has been creating biomaterials out of farmed seaweed, seawater, and saltwater microbes to make a planet-friendly polymer. This material, called polyhydroxyalkanoates (let’s just call that PHAs) mimics that plastic durability we’ve all come to know so well. The difference, however, is that these PHAs are biodegradable and compostable!
As we already know, recycling simply isn’t the solution to plastic waste. But composting certainly could be!
But Wait, It Gets Better!
As you can imagine, creating a plastic alternative is a pretty cash-intensive operation - perhaps this is why we haven’t seen this seaweed plastic rolled out just yet.
Of course, we’re here with the good news today, and that includes the $8 million raised to put this operation into business! Wooo!
As these funds go towards scaling this lab to a plastic-replacing level, you may be wondering what impact this will have on our planet.
Simply put, the scientists behind the magic are suggesting that this material could put plastic out of business for good. Without plastic blocking up our landfills, oceans, recycling facilities, and even our bodies, the world will have room to recover from the plastic problem (with a little help from us of course).
While this is great news for plastic replacements all over the world, it’s important to remember just how impactful cutting everyday plastics out really is.
In fact, the most noticeable differences come when the government steps in and pushes for those changes. Take for example the ban on plastic shopping bags. When the government said no to plastic bags, the entire country followed suit! If this same principle happened with changes in packaging legislation, just imagine the results!
However, while we wait for the government to step up, we can all do our best to reduce, reuse, and flat-out refuse wherever we can! With less plastic to replace, we certainly stand a chance at being excited participants in a post-plastic world! Three cheers for seaweed!