Building a Cleaner Planet: Eco-Friendly Materials

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Introduction

Plastic pollutes the oceans and harms wildlife, so it’s no surprise to learn that it is just no good for this planet. It’s about time we started using more eco-friendly materials as alternatives!

Depending on the application, there are a whole host of eco-friendly materials that can be used instead. Some of these materials are man-made and have been used for centuries and some can be used almost straight out of the ground!

Here are some of the eco-friendly materials that we need to harness the power of when building a cleaner planet!

Cork is an incredible material that can be harvested sustainably from the bark of the Cork Oak tree! 

Sustainable harvesting
When the cork is harvested the tree keeps on living and simply produces more bark in its place. This bark can be harvested again in 9 years’ time!

Harvesting cork helps to fight global warming…
The Cork Oak tree absorbs very large amounts of CO2 when the bark is harvested which is great for cleaning the air we all breathe. 

Supports nature and encourages biodiversity 
Cork Oak trees can live up to 300 years old and forests of the trees have some of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats”

Cork is a durable material that should be utilised more in order to build a cleaner planet!

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world – it’s also an awesome eco-friendly material!

No pesticides needed
Bamboo is a naturally pest resistant plant that requires no nasty pesticides or chemicals to grow effectively. This makes Bamboo a clean and nature-friendly material to grow and harvest. 

Absorbs about 5x more CO2 than similar plant
Bamboo can grow around 2 feet in 1 day and this rapid growth also cleans the planet’s air! As a result of its rapid growth, bamboo takes in a lot of CO2 in the process! 

A great material for eco-friendly products
As long as it’s not chemically processed once harvested, Bamboo is a great material for eco-friendly products: it is recyclable, reusable and biodegradable.

Building a cleaner planet will involve using more of this incredible plant.

The first and only man-made material in this list is glass! Glass has been used since around 3600BC and it’s here to stay.

A 100% recyclable material
Glass can be endlessly reprocessed without any loss in quality or purity making it infinitely recyclable.  

If not recycled, glass does minimal harm to the environment
Glass is made from a combination of limestone, sand and soda ash, which are all natural materials. As a result of its natural makeup, when glass breaks down it releases no harmful chemicals into the environment and after enough time reduces to sand.

Food-safe & non-toxic
Glass is safe for use with food. It leaches no harmful chemicals into your body, again, due to it being made of natural raw materials!

Jute is a fully biodegradable and compostable plant-fibre that you may have never heard of.

Hard-wearing & Durable
Jute is often used for eco-friendly shopping bags. It is strong, more hard-wearing than cotton and can be used again and again!

Enhances soil fertility for future crops
Most crops planted in the ground after jute has been growing have an increased chance of growth and producing a yield. This makes jute a material useful not only for reusable products but for growing food aswell. 

Absorbs large amounts of CO2
Like bamboo, jute absorbs large amounts of CO2 and releases oxygen much faster than most trees when it grows.

Jute is one of our favourite reusable materials here at WiseSip. We think it looks great and use it for our reusable drinking straw bags!

Hemp is another plant-fibre that grows quickly and requires no nasties to grow. It is great to see that hemp is becoming a more popular material in both the reusable product and textile industries.

Hemp is a very strong fibre
Hemp is used for a whole host of applications. Manufactures of items like bags, clothes, sunglasses and even carpets harness hemp’s strength to make their products last longer.

A great materials for clothing
– Does not irritate skin
– Thermodynamic – keeps you warm when its cold
– Antibacterial – keeps you fresh all day!

Hemp is much more resistant than cotton…
Hemp requires no use of pesticides or insecticides to grow effectively and takes only 11 weeks to mature which is around 2x faster than cotton! Hemp’s rapid chemical-less growth means the plant can be quickly turned into an eco-friendly material and used to make a cleaner planet!   

Final thoughts

There are many great reusable and eco-friendly options to replacing plastic. The listed eco-friendly materials do minimal harm to the environment and in order to build a cleaner planet we need to consume less plastic and source more products that harness the power of these materials!

Thanks for reading

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Written by:

Sam, Founder, Product Designer 

I’m a design and manufacture engineer and have loved design since I can remember. I wanted to put my knowledge to good use and tackle the problem that is plastic pollution so I created WiseSip.

We design and assemble unique, reusable products here in the UK.

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