“Vegan spider silk” and 4 other sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics

You use this item only once — okay, maybe twice — but it lingers in landfills, pollutes the oceans, and takes centuries to disappear.

We’re talking about single-use plastics. These disposable items on the planet, one plastic spork at a time.

But scientists are proposing a new solution to the single-use plastics problem. A published Thursday in the journal Nature Communications reveals a newly created material that mimics the properties of spider silk. This energy-efficient alternative is compostable and just a strong as traditional plastic.

It’s also just one on a laundry list of other innovative, sustainable, plant-based materials scientists hope can solve the plastic problem. Other potential replacements include:

  • Edible plant packaging
  • Next-gen biodegradable plastics
  • Nanofibers from coffee grounds
  • Mushroom tissue

What is single-use plastic?

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