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  • Ahmad Muzaki Syafii

5 Zero-Waste Packagings That You Need to Know


The total quantity of generated packaging materials rose by 6.6 million tons from 2007 to 2017 (+9.3%)

Source: Jess Bailey [10]


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How often do you shop? Have you ever thought about how much plastic is used to package the things you buy?


The total quantity of generated packaging materials rose by 6.6 million tons from 2007 to 2017 (+9.3%) [1]. While plastic packaging delivers numerous economic benefits, it accounts for almost half of the global plastic waste since the majority gets thrown away after a single-use [2].


That’s not all. As we all know, plastic takes an average of 450 to 1,000 years to decompose, breaking down into smaller pieces along the way [3]. These smaller pieces, known as microplastics, present a great risk not only to the environment but everything else in it (yes, us included).


Needless to say, changes are necessary, and we can start by switching to eco-friendly packaging. Here are some alternative eco-friendly packagings you can try:


1. Seaweed

Seaweed packaging is an alternative to plastic that is sustainable and biodegradable

Source: Wolfgang Hasselmann [11]


Using bio-based packaging is an excellent way to reduce carbon footprint since it’s made from renewable materials and can degrade more easily [4]. One example would be using seaweed as an alternative raw material to plastic.


There are already many packaging products made from seaweed, one of which is Evoware, a local enterprise whose mission is to provide solutions to end plastic pollution by creating campaigns and offering a range of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic items [5].

What’s amazing about seaweed is that it's farming and cultivation process curbs carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; its cultivation process alone absorbs 20.7 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, making it a great ally to fight climate change [6]!


2. Bagasse

Bagasse is widely being used across the catering industry as a substitution for disposables made from wood, pulp, fiber, petrochemicals, and plastics.

Source: Hafisa Rafique [12]


Bagasse is the dry pulpy fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice. Due to its malleability and stickiness, it can be molded into packaging suitable for food delivery—similar to polystyrene. Unlike polystyrene, however, it’s completely biodegradable and compostable [7]!


Read also: Want a Plastic-Free Life? Here Are Our Plastic-Free July Takeaways


3. Bio-plastic from Cassava

90% of the pollution floating in the ocean is plastic which accounts for 46,000 pieces of plastic in every single square mile

Source: James Cameron [13]


Who loves cassava chips? Well, here’s another reason why you should love cassava: as it turns out, this cheap and common vegetable can be used to make plastic bags and food packaging!


Look at Avani’s cassava-based eco bags! Made from 100% bio-based material, the customizable bag can be dissolved in a matter of fewer than 150 days when discarded in water [8]. On top of that, they’re also compostable!


4. Cornhusk

Cornhusk has a suitable fiber for making paper

Source: Cristina Anne Costello [14]


In 2019, Hasyim Asy'ari University's Laboratory of Science and Mechanical Engineering conducted an experiment using corn husks [9]. Surprisingly, they found out that corn husks can be processed into paper bags, perhaps due to their high levels of cellulose.

In addition to that, corn husk paper has a biodegradable rate of up to 50% which is easier to break down in nature.


5. Use your shopping bag

One person using reusable bags over their lifetime would remove more than 22,000 plastic bags from the environment

Source: Priscilla Du Preez [15]


Bio-based packaging is a great alternative to plastic packaging, but wouldn’t it better if we stopped using it altogether?


It’s time to reunite with your shopping bags: bring it everywhere you go. By bringing shopping bags, we can reduce our carbon footprint by reducing waste from packaging while also minimizing the impact of natural extracts for the manufacture of packaging materials.


Read also: How to Create a Greener Shopping Experience from Home


In addition to the alternatives previously mentioned, there are many other packagings that are also environmentally friendly. In fact, Indonesians are actually accustomed to using environmentally friendly packaging in traditional foods that we often encounter, such as banana leaves or pandan leaves.


Visit our Green Living Project page to begin your zero-waste journey, or post your questions on our forum!


References:

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/pdfscache/10547.pdf

[2] https://www.projectplanetid.com/post/indonesia-and-plastics-a-modern-love-hate-relationship

[3] https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-long-does-it-take-garbage-to-decompose-2878033

[4] https://www.amcor.com/insights/blogs/more-sustainable-biobased-packaging

[5] https://www.webpackaging.com/en/portals/evoware/

[6] https://www.greenbiz.com/article/edible-packaging-will-make-you-reconsider-seaweed

[7] https://www.disruptorleague.com/blog/2018/07/02/13-plastic-packaging-alternatives/

[8] https://fashnerd.com/2017/09/avani-cassava-ecobags-sustainability/#:~:text=The%20cassava%2Dbased%20eco%20bags,can%20be%20found%20across%20Indonesia.

[9] https://www.greeners.co/ide-inovasi/kertas-kemasan-dari-ampas-tebu-dan-kulit-jagung/


Photos:

[10] https://unsplash.com/photos/f94JPVrDbnY

[11] https://unsplash.com/photos/vIZjeHFW48E

[12] https://unsplash.com/photos/XfEHT_GnJvo

[13] https://unsplash.com/photos/KENd4EBdqow

[14] https://unsplash.com/photos/K7tjKGxIVeY

[15] https://unsplash.com/photos/urcDzLL0HnI


#bioplastic #packaging #bio-based packaging

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