Around the world one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, and up to five trillion plastic bags are used every year—truly astonishing numbers. Now consider the fact that over half of all plastic is designed for single use products. That means it’s used once and then thrown away, ending up in landfill, clogging up rivers and hedgerows or making its way into our oceans. About 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year.
It’s clear then, that the amount of plastic we produce and consume cannot continue as it has been doing, and while new and less environmentally damaging materials are currently being designed and used, it will take a concerted effort from individuals, companies, and governments to build a plastic-free future.
Fortunately, in the absence of legislation preventing or limiting this extreme use of plastic, there are companies out there taking responsibility. This means that individual businesses have the power to show others how it can be done, as well proving to governments why legislation on this topic is crucial to ensure wholesale adoption of plastic alternatives.
So, to show you how businesses can be positive influencers of change, below we take a closer look at 10 of the top plastic free businesses with products available today. But first, it’s worth taking a closer look at the reasons why plastic-free must be the way forward, and how we can reduce the use of plastic through positive purchasing decisions.
Most common types of plastic packaging
The term plastic is a catch all word for various types of materials. They are synthetic materials that use polymers as a main ingredient, usually derived from fossil fuel-based chemicals. Plastics can be molded or pressed into a huge variety of shapes and rigidities, which has made them particularly useful as a packaging material. The most common types of plastic used in packaging include Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl), Polypropylene (PP) and Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam). Millions of tons of these types of plastics are produced each year, much of it designed for single use.
Problems caused by plastic packaging
One of the main issues with plastic packaging is the sheer volume of it being used. Global plastic production has reached 460 million metric tons in recent years, with almost a third being packaging. The fact that plastics take up to 1,000 years to degrade naturally is also a major issue that is making an impact on food chains, with microplastics being found in almost every corner of the globe.
Plastic production is very high energy, which contributes to pollution, and the chemicals used are often damaging to the environment. The fact so much plastic ends up in the oceans and other natural environments is also detrimental to wildlife.
How to reduce the use of plastics
Single use plastic is the biggest culprit of plastic pollution. This is plastic that is used once and then ends up in landfill. When plastic is reusable and recyclable it can significantly reduce its impact. However, by far the best way to reduce plastic waste is to find sustainable, compostable, and biodegradable alternatives. These eco-friendly alternatives will help us to reduce and even eradicate our use.
Top 10 companies that are free of plastic
Here are 10 small businesses that have gone plastic free and are helping to drive change.
- Marley’s Monsters
- Meow Meow Tweet
- Bee You Organics
- The Wheat Straws Company
- Plaine Products
Manufacturing toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, and everything else dental hygiene related, this company is committed to using no plastic in its packaging. They also keep their carbon footprint low by sourcing from local suppliers.
Amazinc! specialize in skincare and sunscreen products to help protect you against the sun’s UV rays. However, they only use 100% natural products and 100% recyclable aluminum bottles.
This New Zealand-based company makes zero waste beauty products all in bar form, meaning they travel well. There is no plastic packaging, and all products are palm oil and cruelty free.
4. Marley’s Monsters
Baby wipes, and babies in general, can generate a lot of plastic waste. Which is where Marley’s Monsters come in. They have created a range of reusable wipes, pouches and other baby-specific products that involve no plastic in either manufacture or distribution. Any fabric waste they produce gets donated to local upcycling products.
Created with the sole aim of reducing the need for single use plastics, Stasher’s products are made from a mix of silica and carbon. They produce non-toxic and reusable snack and produce bags for food storage that can be sent back to the company at the end of their use life, before being turned into playground pebbles.
Not everybody realizes that many beauty products and personal care items contain small amounts of plastic. However, Meow Meow Tweet are on a mission to change this, with their plant-based and waste free product range. They also use compostable packaging for all products.
Another health and beauty company with a focus on sustainability is Bee Your Organics. They offer a range of plastic-free products for face, body, and hair care. All ingredients are natural, and they use sustainable packaging options too.
Plastic straws are one of the worst single use offenders around the world, but there are low waste alternatives. This company based in the UK offers straws and other conventionally plastic products made using a natural by-product of the wheat harvest.
Offering a big selection of health and beauty products, such as shampoo and conditioner, this company uses aluminum bottles and renewable cardboard boxes for all its products. In addition, it also offers refill services for its products so that no containers are single use and you can continually use them for your favorite products.
Another UK-based company that offers laundry detergent and other household cleaning products that contains no plastic pellets or other harmful ingredients. Their products are low cost and cost effective.
Cutting out plastic altogether is not easy, and currently not possible for some businesses. However, we should all be making an effort to reduce our impact, making swaps to recycled plastic, or using alternatives like glass jars and stainless steel. Making simple switches like this can help us to reduce plastic pollution, as can using plastic alternatives such as cornstarch. Businesses such as those listed above are leading the charge against plastic use, and when the industry as a whole takes note that going plastic free is driving sales, it is possible that real change can be made. This is how we can eventually reach the zero waste-to landfill goal.
For more products made from recycled materials, guaranteed low emissions and carbon neutral manufacturing, as well as insights into the latest zero waste thinking and sustainability tips, check out the blog today.