Year after year, there’s a stronger push to go plastic-free. Over the last few years, large corporations have started to jump on board too. The total of those committed to the cause is now up to 326 million, including large industries. Among those taking the pledge is Mars Wrigley, the multi-trillion-dollar powerhouse behind snacks and candies like Skittles. Along with Danimer Scientific, the group announced a two-year partnership to develop compostable packaging for their multi-colored candies by 2022.
The Science Behind Going Plastic Free
The idea behind the science is a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) that looks and feels the same as plastic but has the ability to break down. It cuts down the time to decompose, taking just a few days or weeks versus plastic which can take up to 450 years. Danimer Scientific has a patented polymer that, when in contact with bacteria, begins the breakdown. However, when in stores on shelves, it still has the same feel as the original packaging. When speaking about the big announcement, the vice-president of Mars Wrigley claimed that it makes their vision a reality, aiming to reduce the use of “virgin plastic to 25%” and make 100% of packaging reusable.
While there are several positive ideas and vibes around this project, scientists still have their work cut out for them. Their groundbreaking research is sure to catch the attention of other big names in the industry if it works out, bringing the stake higher. One of their key focuses is the creation of compostable material that decomposes quickly. When asked about the technical stuff, one professor from the University of Massachusetts claimed, “everything biodegrades, eventually.” She later talked about the challenges of creating compostable packaging, one that could be thrown on the ground and become a part of the soil.
The Industry Is Feeling the Heat
Large corporations are the first to take on this new green trend. It’s not because of their moral compass but because they can afford it. Plastic is a typical packaging material, known for its cost-effective and sturdy features. Analysis has shown that eco-friendly packaging can cost three to four times more than plastic, an amount out of reach for some small to medium-scale businesses. Plastic is still a billion-dollar industry, with companies all around the world choosing it. Its prevalence proves that there is no end to the use of plastic insight, as it’s still a young movement.
Activists and eco-friendly decomposable advocates are getting louder with their message, gaining the support of more powerful influencers across the globe. While it’s not known by what year plastic packaging will become extinct, many hope it’s very soon. The ocean’s shore is scattered with plastic rubbish, and coral is in a sensitive state already. Consumers are more aware than ever and sure to put more pressure on the industry to make changes.
Many advocates look to the BPA-free movement for inspiration, proving that big things are possible if more people are on board.