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5 Eco-friendly Swaps You Can Make to Replace Single-Use Plastics

According to the United Nations, we produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of which is for single-use items. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Yet it’s not a heavy lift to find biobased alternatives to reduce the number of single-use plastics we rely on day to day.

Here are 5 practical ways you can make the eco-friendly swap:

  • Straws: Trade traditional plastic straws for those made from materials like cornstarch or sugarcane. Biobased straws offer the same functionality without lingering in landfills or oceans for centuries.
  • Cutlery: Embrace compostable cutlery crafted from bioplastics like PLA (polylactic acid) or renewable materials like bamboo. These utensils can break down naturally, leaving behind no lasting environmental impact. Biobased options are available as both disposable and reusable products.
  • Trash bags: Ditch plastic trash or shopping bags for biobased bags made from materials such as cassava or corn. They can decompose more rapidly, lessening the burden on the environment. There are also biobased pet waste bags available.
  • Plates, food containers and serving trays: Opt for food containers and trays made from bioplastics or renewable materials like sugarcane and plant fiber. They are not only sturdy and functional, but also kinder to the planet.
  • Cups and lids (for hot or cold drinks!): Enjoy beverages on-the-go and guilt-free with biobased cups made from materials like bamboo, sugarcane, or cornstarch
  • Making a commitment to switch from single-use plastics to biobased alternatives is a powerful way to kick off the New Year. Plus, these small changes can have a lasting impact.
Learn more about biobased products and how you can commit to switch at

The USDA BioPreferred® Program is the federal government’s official advocate and market accelerator for biobased products. Its primary goals are to increase the development, purchase, and use of biobased products; support rural communities; and contribute to a growing and thriving bioeconomy.

Publication date: 25/03/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.