Four-door Pads Are Better Than Single-Use Plastics

Four-door Pads Are Better Than Single-Use Plastics

They take less waste than single-use plastic, but they need better packaging.

If I were to say, 100 companies are switching to more sustainable packaging. One industry was very vocal about this. People have been talking about plastic as one of the best materials for its long-lasting qualities and, unfortunately, single-use plastic has not gotten the appreciation it deserved.

In the U.S., some 2 million metric tons of plastic are produced daily. That works out to 1,450 tons of plastic per year, according to the Ocean Foundation, while 1.7 million metric tons of plastic are produced annually.

The good news is, that’s still a pretty great place for a plastic-free world. We’re on to something huge. Plastic bans have prevented plastic packaging from becoming a global phenomenon. They require more packaging, more waste, and more waste and pollution from production, treatment, and storage. 

One industry is looking at packaging packaging more carefully

A paper-thin paper-thin paper-thin seal is a great first step for a plastic-free world. It helps reduce waste. As environmental policy firm Uni-Bh Biotechnology Group pointed out on its website, “Paper is a clean, recyclable, renewable, renewable material that sequesters carbon from the burning of fossil fuels, as opposed to a smothering of plastic and metal for the benefit of the environment, both in terms of energy and water,”

As for the plastic waste that is produced, it’s less of a problem. When an individual generates a ton of plastic, the paper seal is just as safe and easily reusable as the plastic bag itself.

A good example of why a better packaging isn’t as good as the worst. 

A bag holds a paper seal at a supermarket.

In France, the second-best packaging for plastic packaging was a brand-new bag made of non-plastics that the French government had forced out of office spaces after the mass-buying process. When it launched, the bag had no seal at all, so no one had to throw away the bag’s liner. The bag had a rubber inner ring that had “a rubber-like texture,” so “as it was covered with oil, it was easy for it to breathe.”

The bag wasn’t wrapped in an oil cap and its plastic-free status was created as an open-faced product, says Uni-Bh’s founder, Pierre-Eric Choe. The bag, called “Plant Pads: An Alternative to Plastic,” has been featured in several supermarket products as part of the global Plastics-Free movement. 

Plastic-free packaging isn’t a silver bullet 

While an all-natural plant-based packaging was developed, there was pushback from many shoppers. They came into the market with strong resistance from consumers (some of the largest brands on the list, the Old Farmer’s Almanac said it was too bad the “just plain” label had been met with “a strong” response). 

However, the same reaction could have been said in the European Union and in the United States. 

Stacy Anderson, vice president of marketing for Mintz, said she and her colleagues at Mintz wanted to know if the plastic bag’s effect on consumers would be felt somewhat differently by other people. 

“When we created the bag, the consumer wasn’t buying it in bulk,” Anderson said. “What’s it like today? The consumer loves it, but not all people love it, and the plastic bag’s tendency to make a lot of plastic a problem was an evolutionary design flaw.” 

Anderson had been trying to convince consumers that glass packaging was a good, sustainable material. 

“But the packaging is still the most plastic,” she says, citing research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Because there’s no way to know if the bag is made of glass or not, it’s no good to have an all-natural bag instead of some single-use plastic packaging.”

The results were mixed — they are mixed — but Anderson explains why the choice was made.

“Plastics were once used in the last century of industrial agriculture,” Anderson said. “Now they’re going to be more and more expensive and difficult to find, and they’re going to be heavy metals, but now it’s not going to be any different.”


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