Cool New Trends In Sustainability

Not all that long ago, when consumers stood in check-out lines at grocery stores, one question was commonly asked. “Paper or plastic?” Fast forward to today’s eco-conscious society and plastic is increasingly viewed as more harmful in that items such as plastic bags often end up in lakes and streams or roadsides. Wildlife sniffing the discarded food left inside are liable to choke on the bags.

With the purchasing of reusable shopping bags at our disposal, we are not limited to using them just for groceries. COVID-19 fears of spreading the virus may prompt you as consumers to bring them along to your local farmers market, Dollar Store and other retailers as a means of carrying home your haul. Meanwhile, there are a few companies who are developing alternatives to plastic products.

Founders of several plastic-alternative companies have said they are seeing more consumer interest in their products. Ecovative Design, for example, extract mushroom tissue (mycelium) to use for packaging as opposed to usage of plastic foam. The company develops and licenses its technologies to producers who can grow their own mushroom packaging.

Notpla uses seaweed extract to make its edible and biodegradable pods called Ooho, which is a replacement for plastic bottles normally used for refreshing liquids provided at running and sporting events. Oohos can even hold juices or alcoholic cocktails. Their Sachets are a plastic-free solution for containing condiments, salad dressings and sauces. The company has also created a liner for cardboard food containers and a pouch for dry goods. Notpla’s co-founder and co-chief executive Pierre Paslier says, “We use plastic for five minutes and it ends up in the ocean for 100 years.”

In lieu of using single-based plastics (cardboards, essentially), the company Footprint produces fiber-based alternatives to make items such as bowls instead of cardboard carry-out containers. Footprint is the brainchild of former Intel engineer Troy Swope who says he became an “accidental environmentalist.”

There are many ways we can save money and simplify our lives by going green and making things on our own. Due to living in the midst of a pandemic, eliminating harmful chemicals from our environment may be more important now more than ever especially for families with members who suffer with respiratory ailments like asthma. Possessing a sustainable mindset may prod you into reconsidering buying certain products you once deemed necessary.

If you have the property or access to land, imagine growing our own fruits and vegetables. Visit websites like Taste of Home to learn how to make your own condiments. You can make your own dishwashing liquid using:

1 ¾ cups of boiling water

1 Tbsp of Borax

1 Tbsp grated bar soap such as Ivory, castile bar soap or natural bar of your choice

15-20 drops of pure essential oils.

When in need of storage for food and keeping it fresh, try Stasherbag, the makers of reusable non-toxic pure platinum silicone bags that are dishwasher and microwave safe.

As trends continue and alternative choices become available, perhaps now is the time to get innovative, cut back and maybe even cut out some things once considered a priority. The chance for living off the land in order to sustain ourselves and preserve the Earth is now.

-Sharon Oliver

Photo: MichaelisScientists via Wikimedia Commons

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