Published: March 10, 2021 By

Every year over 150 million tons of single use plastic is produced worldwide. The majority of this plastic makes it back into the biosphere, whether it be in landfills or natural spaces. Plastic poses a serious ecological threat because it doesn’t fully decompose, but breaks up into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be eaten by and accumulated in wildlife. While the threat that plastic poses to the environment seems unavoidable at times, people are working hard to reduce the amount of petroleum based plastic that makes it into the biosphere. Here are four innovations are helping to reduce our plastic waste:

Algae-Based Plastics:

  • Algae, an umbrella term used to describe seaweeds, kelps, and photosynthetic eukaryotes, based plastics have become an increasingly popular substitute for petroleum based plastics.

  • Algae will provide enough biomass to produce large quantities of this form of bioplastic as they are the fastest growing organisms powered by sunlight. 

  • Algae also has the advantage of being able to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during the growing process.

  • Start-ups are already beginning to use algae to create hyper-compostable single-use plastic products. Some examples of this are Loliware, a company creating single-use straws out of seaweed that can sustain over 18 hours of use and will break down at the same rate as food waste and Ooho, an edible and biodegradable water pouch made of algae.

PLA Plastics:

  • PLA plastics are bioplastics derived from renewable resources such as corn starch and sugar cane.

  • PLA plastics are among the most used bioplastics in the world as they have a wide range of versatility. These plastics can be made into items from single-use cups to long-lasting medical screws. 

  • These plastics are able to decompose into organic matter if sent to an industrial composting facility. 

  • PLA plastics are indicated by a number seven recycling symbol. However, this does not mean they are recyclable like petroleum based plastics. Number seven PLA plastics should instead be composted or thrown away if composting is not available.

Plastic Eating Mushrooms:


  • An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed full with used pieces of plastic.

  • Ecobricks reduce the surface area of packed plastic to keep it from degrading into tiny microplastics. 

  • Ecobricks are made to a certain density and can then be used as reusable building blocks to build walls, structures, green spaces, and even furniture. 

  • Some purposes of ecobricks include keeping plastic out of the biosphere in the long-term and “raising the collective ecological consciousness of those involved in the process.”

  • Ecobricks only require cleaning, drying, and then packing plastic into a plastic bottle, which means they can be made by anyone! To find more information about how to ecobrick and where to drop off any ecobricks you make click here.