Single-use plastics are taking a huge toll on our planet. Our landfills and ecosystems are overwhelmed with food containers, cling wrap, single-use coffee cups, milk cartons, and more.
Plastic pollution causes harm to humans, animals, and plants by its greenhouse gases and through the ingestion of microplastics, taking hundreds to thousands of years for plastic to break down, causing permanent damage.
And it’s clear that the pollution produced by plastic packaging outweighs its convenience.
Thankfully, companies are beginning to find ways to reduce plastic, like using edible seaweed to replace plastic in food packaging.
Seaweed does not require any fertiliser, pesticides, or freshwater, making it easier to cultivate than other crop-based materials. In addition, the marine plant also works to sequester carbon during growth, helping reduce carbon emissions simultaneously.
Indonesian startup Evoware offers biodegradable and edible packaging to replace conventional plastic with seaweed as the raw material.
According to David Christian, founder of Evoware, the idea came after thinking of a way to prepare food more efficiently, while reducing plastic waste.
“In the streets and the rivers, I also saw a lot of garbage, especially plastic garbage,” Christian. “Then I did a little research about the plastic and found out that plastic is contaminating everything from the air, the land, the water including our drinkable water and even our food is already contaminated by plastic.”
The startup’s product range include edible drinking cups called Ello Jello, cups are made with seaweed, infused with natural flavours such as peppermint, lychee, orange, and green tea; and edible food wraps and sachets that are odourless, tasteless, and 100 per cent biodegradable.
According to the company, the wraps can be used for instant coffee, cereal, noodle seasoning, which can melt immediately upon contact with water. It can also be used to wrap other materials like meat, vegetables, fruits or even non-food containing products like soap bars.
While in Norway, material science company B’Zeos is working with multinational corporations, including Nestle, and Spanish plastic manufacturer Aitiip, to consider replacing single-use plastics with seaweed-based alternatives.
B’Zeos stands for bio-based, zero waste- edible- marine origin, and soluble, which stands for what the company produces, human food-grade, edible packaging made from sustainably farmed kelp.
While the company’s first product was an edible drinking straw, its line of alternative packaging has since expanded thanks to its business partnerships and a European Union-funded grand from Plastisea that supports the development of bioplastics from cultivated algae.