Alternative to plastic bags

When it comes to plastic alternatives, there is often a focus on carbon emissions, but less emphasis on other important factors such as end-of-life effects, raw material extraction, water and land use, and the release of toxic chemicals. Simply replacing single-use plastic with another material will not reduce the environmental burden!  


The least burdensome solution is reusable and refillable packaging and buying without packaging. These solutions are available at local markets, farmers’ markets, independent zero-waste stores and some supermarkets. They require nothing more to do than an adjustment in our lifestyles and behaviors.  


1. What is plastic?   

a. Definition  

It is in the XXth century that we see the appearance of new material, the plastic. With several advantages between its resistance to shocks, temperature variations, ease of shaping, and rot-proof. All its qualities have allowed it to infiltrate our daily life with great ease to the point of becoming indispensable. We must deal with this material every day because it is everywhere from yogurt pots to milk bottles, toys, kitchen utensils, sports equipment, or school supplies.   

b. Composition   

Plastic is made from a derivative of petroleum, ethylene gas (C2H4), allowing the manufacture of several types of plastic such as polyethylene, the best known. Carbon contributes enormously to its conception by facilitating its forging through the polymer chains.  

c. Life cycle   

Estimates of the lifespan of plastics range from 450 years to infinity.  

A plastic bottle takes between 100 and 1000 years to decompose. A plastic bag takes 400 years.  

d. Impact   

  • 5,000 billion pieces of plastic are already floating in our oceans. 
  • Worldwide, 73% of the waste on beaches is plastic: cigarette filters, bottles, corks, food packaging, polystyrene bags, or bins.
  • By 2050, all seabird species will be eating plastic regularly.  
  • According to the latest reports, approximately 700 species of marine animals have already ingested or been trapped in plastic. 
  • More about plastic impact.

e. Recycling  

  • Before recycling, we proceed to a classification step according to the type of resin, this step can be done manually or mechanically automated, or by color.  
  • After sorting the materials, there are two main ways to have recyclable plastic: mechanical recycling, where the plastic is washed, crushed, and melted, or chemical recycling, where the plastic is broken down into monomers to form new polymers for reuse. 
  • It is important to note that not all plastic is recyclable! 12% were incinerated and 79% were accumulated in landfills or in nature.  

In order to reduce the consequences correlated with our excessive use of plastic in our daily lives, we invite you to learn about the materials you all already know as alternatives to plastic.  

2. Plastic substitutes

  • Glass Centenaries   

 To avoid food waste, glass is a must-have in your kitchen to store food. Resistant and reusable, this material does not stain, does not transmit the taste, and does not deteriorate. Not to mention that it can be recycled almost infinitely.  

  • Cardboard / Paper  

To reduce your use of plastic, think about using paper and/or cardboard. These materials can easily replace plastic since they decompose much faster and with much less chemical residue than plastic packaging and are therefore more easily recyclable.   

  • Packaging with beeswax  

Reusable beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use cling film and aluminum foil rolls. They allow you to preserve your food while respecting your health and that of our planet.  


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the alternative to plastic bags

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