Less Plastic

Reducing non-degradable plastics on the planet

Three stages can be identified in the reduction of non-degradable plastics, each step a bit closer to eliminating plastic on the Planet, although it may be hard to fully achieve this due to its (industrially) useful characteristics in many cases and its countless applications.

  1. Abandon single use plastics
    It is already generally accepted that to begin with low quality single use plastics should abandoned. Many countries are actively preparing laws for this. Higher quality plastics for repeated use is already a step forward, even if not bio-degradable either. At least it’s better to use HQ a 100 times than to throw away LQ those same 100 times.
    More than technological adaption this will need a drastic shift of mindset, from the now common throw-away mentality that arose in the seventies back to the former keep and re-use habit. A habit that would  be wise to maintain, also when in a next step the HQ plastic can be substituted by degradables as soon as they become availabe.
  2. Recycle non-degradable plastic
    Research and development for the recycling of non-degradable plastics is essentially an issue of the industries in the sector. However, demand from the market has the potential to push the development in the most desired direction.
    Andrew Forrest offers an interesting proposal in his TED talk (popup video)
  3. Substitute non-degradable plastic
    Any degradable alternative is an improvement, not necessarily just bio-degradable plastics but, in fact, natural materials themselves.
    Many promising initiatives have already been taken and many more can be expected. It is just a question of time before a great deal of existing plastic will be repaced by degradable alternatives. Both for products that are fully made out of plastic or materials that are partially plastic like textile and clothing (e.g. silk, leather).
    This too will require a change in mindset, in this case of the industry, giving more priority to the long term global goal of a healthy planet then the short term goal of lower costs and greater profits.
    Also, there seems to be quite some confusion amongst the public about what (bio)degradability or compostability exactly means and this should be addressed.


Materials and products

Possible base materials

  • banana
  • cassava
  • corn, maize
  • grapes
  • hemp
  • lemons (IT – external)
  • potatoes
  • seaweed
  • sugar beet
  • sugar cane

From bioplastic out of seaweed to frames for glasses out of sugar beet, from dog toys out of potato starch to golf balls out of polylactic acid. (Volkskrant – NL 2016)

Possible end materials or products

  • PHA
  • BOPP films
  • Laminate
  • Packaging
  • Textile

Possible requirements

  • degradability (time, conditions)
  • containment
  • barrier effect
  • appearance
  • transparency
  • durability
  • temperature resistance
  • flexibility
  • hardness/softness




Bio-degradable alternatives for non-degradable plastics?


Companies and products



News from 2018 and newer


News from 2017 and older




Biodegradabilità e compostabilità, Italia. Aziende.




















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Bio-degradable alternatives for oil-based plastic

News from 2018 and newer


News from 2017 and older


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