Plastic pollution: the pressing case for natural and environmentally friendly substitutes to plastics

With plastic pollution becoming a global crisis over the past few years, finding material alternatives and substitutes to plastic material has gained urgency. However, it is crucial to carefully consider the socio-environmental consequences of plastic substitutes. While efforts towards substituting plastics with natural and sustainable materials are gaining momentum, it is important to note that not all substitutes are always environmentally friendly. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct a standard life cycle analysis to assess the impact and viability of potential substitutes. This UN report highlights material substitutes as being essential tools in the fight against plastic pollution. It suggests that natural materials from mineral, plant, animal, marine or forestry origin, that can perform similar functions to plastics, should be considered as substitutes. It is also important to note the difference with plastic alternatives, which can include bioplastics or biodegradable plastics.