Bright Side

12 Simple Materials That Can Help Us Save Our Planet From an Ecological Disaster

Everyone knows that plastic bottles and bags have a negative effect on the planet. And the worst thing is, we’re used to using these items. Meanwhile, there are lots of great solutions that most of us simply don’t know about.

Bright Side has figured out which substances and items could soon conquer the world and replace the harmful materials that are ruining the Earth. There’s a bonus in the end: now every woman can make the world cleaner if she just quits using sanitary pads.

12. Synthetic squid protein

Researchers from Pennsylvania have figured out that protein from squid tentacles can be produced artificially. This durable material is also able to heal itself, it’s biodegradable, and can be recycled.

In the future, this protein material could replace nylon and polyester. What if we had the opportunity to create self-mending clothing one day? We think it’d be great.

11. Improved cotton

When it comes to cotton production, the only issue people face is that toxic substances and huge amounts of water are used. But some manufacturers have started producing improved cotton: the production has just begun, and we’re sure it’s going to spread.

This new cotton doesn’t need as much water and requires only a few harmful chemicals during production. The negative impact on ecology is much smaller.

10. Lyocell

These clothes were made of a fabric with a high lyocell content.

Artificial fabrics often irritate the skin, and the clothes made of these fabrics take forever to decompose. What’s more, they emit toxic substances while being washed which eventually gets into the groundwater. Lyocell (or tencel) is one of the substances that can replace these artificial fibers. The material easily decomposes and can be used as a secondary raw material.

Lyocell looks like silk and its quality resembles the quality of cotton. Its only drawback is its price — it’s really expensive now. But even fabrics that contain 50% tencel are considered to be ecologically friendly.

9. Stone wool

Stone wool is made from basalt that forms after lava cools and it’s spun into fibers that resemble wool. It’s a great material to replace fiberglass or polyethylene foam (these materials are usually used during construction).

The main features include:

  • fire-resistance
  • repels water
  • durability in extreme climates

Stone wool should definitely be used in areas where natural disasters like wild fires or floods are likely to occur.

8. Mushrooms as packaging and building material

MycoWorks: The company uses mushrooms as a building material.

Mushrooms can replace plastic insulation materials and protective packaging. MycoWorks produces a durable fabric from mycelium (basically mushrooms). The manufacturer compares the quality of this material to rubber. It’s said that one day, mushrooms will even be able to replace leather.

Another company — Ecovative Design — uses mycelium to produce fireproof packaging.

7. Urea-based cement

This is what urea looks.

Cement is one the most harmful materials. Around 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions are caused by cement production. Biostone is a material that can replace it. It was invented by a student from Edinburgh who used 3 components: sand, bacteria, and urine.

Biostone production uses ordinary raw materials, and the stone doesn’t emit any harmful substances. The only drawback this material has is that it’s not as durable as cement.

6. Tree-free paper

Besides trees, there are lots of natural materials that can be used in paper production. For example, there are bananas, wheat straw, or cannabis. The main issue with these is their higher price. But their quality and other properties are just great as regular paper.

5. Bamboo toothbrushes

Bogobrush bamboo toothbrush

Our ordinary plastic toothbrushes are a true disaster for our planet. Each country throws away thousands of toothbrushes each day. Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes are a good solution that can replace plastic ones.

4. Eco-friendly swimwear

Eco-friendly swimsuits are printed via 3D printers, using a sponge-like material. These swimsuits absorb harmful substances while you swim. Sounds weird, but it’s not dangerous for your health at all.

3. Disposable tableware made from apple puree

Eco-friendly disposable tableware has been developed in Russia. The material — apple puree — is 100% natural and even low in calories. You can pour boiling water in one of these cups and it won’t crumble. You don’t even have to eat if after using, you can just throw it away. It takes this dishware a few days to decompose or 12 hours to dissolve in water.

Today, one cup costs around 40-50¢, but the manufacturer is trying to figure out how to make this tableware even cheaper.

2. Recycled plastic bottles used to produce railroad tracks

In 2018, Russia started using railroad tracks made from plastic bottles. These tracks function for around 50 years, then they can be recycled and replaced with new tracks.

1. Metal, bamboo, and other materials used to produce reusable drinking straws

Plastic straws can’t be recycled. Each single straw ever made still exists on this planet (probably in the ocean).

There’s an alternative: reusable drinking straws made from bamboo, glass, or metal. They can be easily washed with a special brush.

Celebs support the movement against plastic straws. For example, Cara Delevingne, one of the most famous supermodels of our time, uses #myecoresolution hashtag that means she doesn’t use plastic bottles or drinking straws.

Some people have noticed that items that can replace plastic have already been created — they include hollow lollipops and liquorice candies.

Bonus: Giving up sanitary pads

Unfortunately, the most famous alternative to sanitary pads are menstrual cups, and they’re not suitable for all women. But in fact, you don’t need these cups if you want to feel comfortable during your period and contribute to the improvement of the environment. And here’s another alternative — period underwear.

They look like ordinary underwear, work like sanitary pads, and can hold up to 2 regular tampons. In the evening, you just wash your panties by hand or in the washing machine.

These underwear are popular even among celebs. Check this interview with Mila Kunis.

Do you pay attention to your items’ eco-friendly (or not) properties?

Preview photo credit thinx, thinx