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Saying goodbye to plastics

A new survey of more than 2,000 UK adults reveals that 49% will make a New Year’s resolution to use less plastic in 2022.

After a Christmas full of plastic, 73% of consumers want more opportunity to buy food that is wrapped in alternatives next year.

But only 14% say they are ‘definitely’ clear which alternatives to plastic are really sustainable.

If you need some help finding plastic-free alternatives to everyday product like cling film and bin bags, click here to browse the plastic-free section of the My Green Pod ethical online shop.

Replacing single-use plastics

The surveys were commissioned by Cambridge-based Xampla, which is making the world’s first plant protein alternative to plastic for commercial use.

With a mission to reduce plastic pollution, the certified B Corporation will deploy its ‘natural polymer’ replacement to plastic across the food and home cleaning products sector in the coming year.

The home-grown British technology is already in households across the United Kingdom, after Gousto’s started using Xampla’s edible film to wrap its stock cubes in November.

If the material were used in all the company’s meal kits, 17 tonnes of single-use plastic would be replaced annually.

Plastic waste at Christmas

With 10 million turkeys consumed each Christmas in the UK, this natural material could also replace the plastic wrappings around meat and vegetables, doing away with hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unrecyclable plastic film.

‘The sheer scale of plastic use this Christmas reminds us that consumers and brands alike need alternatives which can match the performance of plastic, without the harmful effects. 

‘It is so encouraging to see half of those we surveyed saying they will make a New Year’s resolution to use less plastic, but it is up to government and the big brands to help people follow through. 

‘By moving away from plastic towards the natural polymers we have created, there is a real opportunity next year and in the coming years to say goodbye to plastic with a credible alternative.’

SIMON HOMBERSLEY
Xampla CEO

Inspired by spider silk

Xampla’s ‘plastic which doesn’t pollute’ started in development 15 years ago at the University of Cambridge, with scientists focusing on how a spider makes silk.

Silk is a protein material five times stronger than steel, but which occurs naturally and breaks down naturally.

The fast-growing British start-up has since successfully engineered polymers found in nature to emulate spider silk, and demonstrated the first rolls of its alternative to plastic film coming off production lines in 2021.   

‘Recycling doesn’t work’

In a separate survey, nine in 10 expert buyers at leading consumer brands said they believed it was important for their companies to transition away from conventional plastic.

However, 60% are confused by the sustainability claims of packaging solutions and the same proportion do not know where to find trustworthy alternatives.

Polling also shows that 69% of the public prefer sustainable plastic alternatives to relying on recycling, endorsing the Prime Minister’s recent statement that ‘recycling doesn’t work’.

‘Next year has to be about turning off the plastic tap.  

‘The public is rightly increasingly sceptical of recycling, since plastic can only ever be ‘down-cycled’ and the whole process is from production to recycling to re-production is highly carbon intensive. 

‘Xampla’s technology is genuinely revolutionary.  It could help wean the world off its addiction to plastic and away from the fantasy that recycling can solve the problems plastics cause.’

SIAN SUTHERLAND
Co-founder of A Plastic Planet

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