Disposable items are essential, especially for food and beverage services, but plastic disposables should be utilized in the appropriate application. There are many products on the market and in development that are environmentally preferable alternatives to plastics. These alternatives are often developed to be compostable or ideally, biodegradable. Several popular alternative materials are currently available, and listed below:

– Bagasse: Natural byproduct of sugarcane industry.

– Bamboo: Considered to be a rapidly renewable wood product with low emissions.

– Bioplastics: PLA is a biodegradable type of plastic that is manufactured from plant based resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. PLA products without additives are compostable, but often only in a municipal composting facility.

– Chitosan: Made from a combination of crab shells and cellulose.

– Glass: Is being used as an alternative to plastic or paper straws.

– Liquid Wood: Made from pulp-based lignin, a byproduct of papermaking process.

– Mushrooms: Agricultural waste mixed with mycelium and molded into shapes.

– Paper: Recycled-content and virgin paper has always been an alternative to plastic.

– Seaweed Sachets: Edible, tasteless and biodegradable in six weeks. 

– Soy: Soybean protein offers a sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuel-based plastics as a domestically grown, renewable, and biodegradable.


Retailers, Restaurants & Businesses

The spreadsheet below offers useful information on the dialogue and debate regarding plastic alternatives. The attachment and references on this page are not endorsing any company or organization but was developed to provide basic educational information on the subject.

Plastic Alternatives Resource List 2023