The solutions catalog to replace plastic

Clean-up

Objects and solutions from around the world to give a second life to plastic waste.

A company transforming plastic waste into paving stones

In Conakry, Guinea, BGS Recyplast is a young company collecting plastic waste from the inhabitants (single-use water bags, old plates or basins…) to make new objects. The company mainly makes paving stones, which are used to develop the country’s road network, and allow the inhabitants to move more easily from one city to another.

Thanks to this activity, Mariam Keita who lead the company now employs 10 people, including 8 women, and has created 25 indirect jobs in the region.

Guinea 🇬🇳

Women who weave old plastic bags

In Burkina Faso, the women’s cooperative GAFREH reuses old plastic bags to make fashion accessories: bags, pouches… GAFREH employs about eighty women from very modest backgrounds, who receive a salary and medical coverage in exchange for their work.

To make these new objects, the women of GAFREH must first clean the plastic bags. Then comes the delicate operation of spinning the plastic thread into bobbins, knitting, weaving and finally sewing and making up.

Burkina Faso 🇧🇫

Plastic waste transformed into colorful teapots

In Senegal, these teapots are everywhere! The Satalas (that’s their name) are made from recycled plastic waste: water bags, buckets…

They are recognizable by their colourful aspect and their bright colors. This object has been diverted from its use over time, today it only looks like a teapot, as the Satalas are used to practice ablutions before prayer.

Senegal 🇸🇳

092022-Plastic-Odyssey-pyrolyse-studiokrack-02-1920

A machine that transforms plastic waste into energy

In South Africa, Scarabtech’s team is working hard to develop a very special machine: a pyrolysis for plastic waste.

This machine is able to give a last life to plastic waste that can no longer be recycled, and turns it into fuel. With 1 kg of plastic waste, the Beetle (this is the machine’s name) is able to create 1 liter of fuel.

A copy of this plastic pyrolysis machine can be seen on Plastic Odyssey’s vessel.

South Africa 🇿🇦

Sac à main fabriqué à partir de déchets plastiques

A 100% women’s business to get out of precariousness

In the Syrian refugee camps in Bekaa Valley, north of Lebanon, women have joined forces to give plastic bags a second life.

They cut up the bags to make “plarn” or “plastic yarn”, a spool of plastic thread. They use this plastic yarn to knit or crochet colourful handbags, which they sell in the souk.

As time goes by, their collections are becoming more and more successful, enabling them to make a living from their activity.

Lebanon 🇱🇧

Reboot manufacture

Hundreds of alternative materials to plastic, more respectful of nature and humans.

Biodegradable containers made from “yagua” palm leaves

In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Porfirio manufactures 100% natural, biodegradable containers made from “yagua” palm leaves.

These leaves, collected once they have fallen to the ground, are transformed into trays, plates and other items to hold food. Unlike the polystyrene containers commonly used, Porfirio’s containers do not harm the environment. What’s more, he works with local communities to source its supplies, creating economic opportunities while preserving nature.

Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

Lamps made from water hyacinths

In the Dominican Republic, water hyacinth, a plant that has become invasive due to river pollution, is used to make everyday objects. Michelle, a designer from Santo Domingo, works with local craftsmen and fishermen to create unique lamps.

The hyacinth stems are harvested from the river, dried for several days and then woven. As well as being beautiful, the lamps are sustainable and create hundreds of jobs in local communities.

Dominican Republic 🇩🇴

Kitchen accessories made from coconut

In Cartagena, Colombia, Maribel and her husband work with coconut in a completely artisanal way to create a variety of kitchen accessories: salsa bowls, utensils, salt shakers, etc. Subsequently, they market them in the city’s major hotels and restaurants, thus ensuring the livelihood of their family and offering their children the opportunity to continue their studies.

Furthermore, nothing is lost since the inside of the coconut is also used to make juices or to cook traditional coconut rice.

Colombia 🇨🇴

Bowls and glasses made of totumo

In the community of Pontezuela in Colombia, a cooperative of artisans has been working with totumo for several decades, a fruit that grows on trees throughout the year. Thanks to its unique shapes, the totumo makes it possible to make a variety of handicraft objects.

In the past, every Colombian family had its own tree in the garden, which allowed them to make everything they needed. Today, several people are rediscovering this precious ancestral know-how, motivated by the preservation of the environment. In addition to its artisanal applications, totumo has curative and medicinal properties.

Colombia 🇨🇴

A picnic plate made of pressed banana leaves

In Cape Verde, bananas are the third most grown crop by weight. Bananas are grown to be eaten locally or exported. Once the bananas are harvested, the banana tree has other uses. Its leaves can be used to make various everyday objects.

In Mindelo, some artisans dry and press them together to make plates. These banana leaf plates are perfect for a picnic: unbreakable, water-resistant and therefore washable, without any chemicals, and as biodegradable as a leaf from a tree!

Cape Verde 🇨🇻

Objects made from fresh Goya leaves

In Mindelo, Cape Verde, Jose is an artisan who weaves and knits all the plants around him to make new objects. In front of the workshop where he works, Goya grows, a native plant of Cape Verde, a local cousin of papyrus. Jose takes the long narrow leaves and weaves them when they are still fresh to make all kinds of objects: bags, hats, etc.

Working with fresh and not dried Goya leaves allows the artisan to create a multitude of shapes, as the plant is still very pliable when making the object.

Cape Verde 🇨🇻

A knitted sponge made of sisal fibers

In Mindelo, Cape Verde, Nadira has opened a plastic-free store. She knits natural sponges from sisal, a fiber extracted from the agave plant that grows all over Cape Verde. Very resistant, sisal has long been used for making ropes, fabrics or carpets. In her workshop, Nadira collects the fiber, then makes rope from it. She then crochets this rope and makes custom-made, natural, resistant, and fully biodegradable sponges. Nadira’s sponges are made with only one material: sisal, and without any additives. No risk of contaminating the dishwater, unlike synthetic sponges.

Cape Verde 🇨🇻

A clay water filter

Water is a rare and precious resource that is vital to all of us. Yet the world over, we face inequalities of access as well as problems of potability. That’s why this clay water filter is so useful.
It can be found in many homes in Brazil, helping to avoid the daily need to buy bottles or even cans of water. How it works is simple: first, tap water is added to the upper reservoir, which then flows into the lower reservoir to be filtered by a ceramic block, naturally reducing all impurities. This water filter, designed by craftsmen in a market in Recife, is an example of an alternative to plastic in a context where water pollution is on the increase.

Brazil 🇧🇷

An agave leaf sieve

Made by craftsmen in north-east Brazil, this sieve is used to sift tapioca, a staple of local cuisine. Tapioca flour comes from manioc, a root vegetable abundant in Brazil. The sieve itself is made from agave leaf.

Native to North America, agave is an invasive plant that has taken root in many parts of the world, including Brazil. Agave fiber can be produced from this plant, as well as extracting the very resistant leaf, which can then be woven into sieves or other objects as desired.

Brazil 🇧🇷

Yoghurt pots “just like before”

In the city of Aubagne, France, La Fermière is a family business that has been making yogurt since 1852.

The company has chosen not to change the material used for its yogurt pots, which they call their “casket”, and offers its yogurts in stoneware or glass pots. This container, in addition to being infinitely recyclable, has other advantages: it keeps the cold longer, and therefore offers a better tasting experience. It also creates a lot of pride among the company’s employees.

France 🇫🇷

champignon pour remplacer le p

Mushrooms
to replace polystyrene

Ecovative has developed an ecological alternative to expanded polystyrene, made out of mycelium, the white part of the mushroom. The material is 100% biodegradable and returns to the soil as nutrients. Its manufacture does not depend on petroleum, unlike conventional polystyrene, and can be used to package all types of objects. Other possible uses include: wood/mushroom interlocking for the construction of indoor furniture without formaldehyde (a product harmful to health found in some furniture); kits to grow your own mycelium at home; and mushroom-teddy bears!

United States of America 🇺🇸

Wool and hair to replace agricultural plastic tarps

In Auvergne, France, Capillum has come up with an alternative to plastic tarps used by farmers to cover the ground. They have developed a system that gives new life to a very common waste product: hair! By associating hair with wool, two natural and insulating elements, they make mulching mats, which are then used by farmers to protect their soils.

France 🇫🇷

alternatives plastiques

Hundreds of recipes of natural plastic

In Great Britain, Materiom is developing recipes to create alternative materials to plastic. To do this, the team has decided to use only ingredients that are abundantly available in our environment: algae, insects, shellfish or fish skins, invasive plants…

These recipes are available on the internet and can be consulted free of charge. The website is constantly enriched with new recipes.

Great Britain 🇬🇧

biodechets

Objects made out of organic waste

In Turkey, the Ottan Studio team has decided to say no to plastic and is making materials from… food leftovers: orange peels, walnut shells, coffee grounds, egg shells, expired rice or lentils, dead leaves…

They have thus created a catalog of several dozen materials, with various colors and properties, which are real alternatives to plastic.

These materials are used by designers and architects to make new objects.

Turkey 🇹🇷

Provence cane to replace plastic cutlery

In Provence, in the South of France, designer Antoine Boudin creates objects out of Provence cane, an invasive plant that grows everywhere in the region.

With this cane, he makes cutlery that he offers to small island restaurant owners who sell take-away meals: ice cream spoons, knives and single use forks for eating on the go…

This cutlery, entirely made of cane, is washable and reusable, but also 100% biodegradable.

France 🇫🇷

Terracotta to replace water bottles

The Gargoulette is a french terracotta jug. Very much used in the past to conserve water, it has now been forgotten in favor of plastic bottles.

However, the Gargoulette has many advantages: the clay, in addition to being biodegradable, is porous, which allows it to refresh the liquid it contains. The water evaporates, runs down the walls of the gargoyle, and refreshes the water it contains.

Nowadays, some people start to use it again. This is the case of the Bernex pottery in Aubagne, France.

France 🇫🇷

A company that produces ceramic filters for household water purification

In Guatemala, Ecofiltro manufactures filters from natural materials to purify unhealthy water. Goodbye plastic bottles! Water is poured into a ceramic filter pot, made from clay mixed with sawdust and colloidal silver (a very effective natural antibacterial). The pathogens are trapped in the filter, and the resulting water is then drinkable. This filter has many advantages compared to other filters on the market: its lifespan of 2 years, and at the end of the filter unit’s life, it can be reused as a plant pot or disposed of because it is 100% biodegradable since it is not made of plastic cartridges or filters. It is also a filter that does not need electricity to operate.

Guatemala 🇬🇹

A toothbrush that grows in the ground

In Lebanon, as in many countries in the Middle East and Asia, some inhabitants use the siwak: a small fibrous stick that replaces plastic toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste. The siwak is the root of the Salvadora Persica shrub, which grows in arid areas and tolerates high temperatures and drought very well. In 2033, a US study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information demonstrated that the use of siwak was more effective than the use of a traditional toothbrush, due to the many substances that the stick is composed of: alkaloids (antimicrobial and antibacterial), silica (anti-tartar and whitening component), fluoride (prevents the formation of cavities), and vitamin C (healing).

Lebanon 🇱🇧

A company that grows natural sponges

In Egypt, Cute Eve is involved in all stages of loofah manufacturing: from production to processing to distribution. The company has its own plantations, located in the Abees region. In mid-February, the loofah seeds are sown, then cultivated and harvested in the fall. They are then immersed in water for a few hours so that the skin of the squash is detached from its structure. Once dried in the sun, they are manipulated with a cotton towel to give them the desired shape. Finally, to modernize this natural product, Cute Eve sews them on fabric supports to integrate them on gloves, towels or slippers.

Egypt 🇪🇬

Artisans who make market baskets out of palm leaves

In Egypt, Ibrahim Gabre is the founder of an association that aims to encourage traditional Egyptian craftsmanship. The association promotes the work of men and women who make baskets from date palm leaves throughout Egypt. The artisans collect the petiole, the stem that connects the palm to the trunk, which they dry and ingeniously assemble to make baskets that will be used to transport fruits and vegetables. With one date palm, approximately 20 baskets can be made. These baskets are entirely biodegradable, as well as more durable and repairable. According to Ibrahim, the fruits and vegetables they contain are also better protected, as they are not at risk of being contaminated by plastic.

Egypt 🇪🇬

A durable and fully biodegradable fishing net

On the Kerkennah Islands in Tunisia, the Jeunes Sciences association trains young inhabitants in the production of fishing traps made of date palm leaves. This know-how, once mastered by all the island’s fishermen, is now disappearing.

The traps are made from woven palm leaves and wrapped branches to form a dome structure. They are then immersed in water to make them more flexible and easier to handle. The traps are then placed on the shore to dry and harden before being used for fishing. Unlike their plastic counterparts that crack in the sun and salt, these natural traps are durable, resistant, repairable, and fully biodegradable.

Tunisia 🇹🇳

Reusable and ingenious shopping bags

Malak Al-Terkawi founded Brio Bags, a start-up that makes reusable bags from natural materials.

The bags are eco-designed to use as little material as possible, and tailored to a specific use, such as this compartmentalised bag for separating fruit and vegetables, with a light bag for weighing.

According to Malak, it is consumer habits that need to be changed, and retailers must offer solutions. That is why she works hand in hand with them.

Lebanon 🇱🇧

Seaweeds with magical powers

Seaweeds are plants that do not require fertiliser or water to grow. They occur naturally in large numbers in the environment.

In France, Algopack transforms the Sargasso seaweed that grows on the French coast into an alternative material to plastic.

These seaweed plastics contain no additives and are compostable.

France 🇫🇷

A date palm leaf bag for grocery shopping

Made for several centuries in Tunisia, the basket or “Koffa” is a bag formed from mats of rush or palm leaves. The leaves are harvested during the summer in the wadis of the Cap Bon region, then sun-dried for two weeks and then woven. Sold on markets for around ten dinars (3 euros), the ‘couffin’ is particularly used to carry weekly groceries.

“El Koffa”, which means purchasing power in Tunisian, represents a solid and durable alternative that avoids the use of 200 plastic bags per person per year on average. Truly a symbol of Tunisian craftsmanship, it is created by mat weavers in the cities of Djerba, Gabes, Kasserine, and Nabeul, contributing to the local economy of the communities.

Tunisia 🇹🇳

An artisan who transforms big gourds into containers

The calabash is a plant from the cucurbitaceae family, which grows very well in tropical regions.

In Senegal, Fallou transforms these large fruits into everyday objects: gourds, bowls, ladles, or spoons… The calabash is first cleaned, dried, then emptied before being cut and decorated. In some regions of Senegal, women also use the calabash as a container to go to the market, thus avoiding the usual plastic bags.

The calabash, once dried, is very strong and lasts a long time.

Senegal 🇸🇳

Clay and vegetable tar to replace plastic cups and bottles

In Morocco, beautiful pottery decorated with small black motifs is made; carafes, cups, bowls, and more. These objects made of clay and vegetable tar are used to store water and replace plastic bottles and other disposable cups.

They also have some amazing properties: clay allows the water it contains to cool naturally, through a mechanism of micro-evaporation. The black trim, made from vegetable tar, is composed of cade oil, which is believed to have antiseptic and water-cleansing properties.

Morocco 🇲🇦

An earthenware “national” carafe for storing water and wine.

In Lebanon, “bri” (Lebanese carafes) are found in every home. Today made from blown glass, they were once made from clay and used to store water or wine.

The Lebanon was formerly known for its wine production, and amphoras were used for storing and transporting wine in antiquity. The modern Lebanese carafes, in the shape of an amphora, are a tribute to this ancient wine-making tradition. The handles on the sides allow for easy grip, while the flared shape of the carafe body allows the liquid to breathe and aerate.

Lebanon 🇱🇧

Give-up

Inspiring ideas from all over the world to break free from our dependence on plastic.

A supermarket that only offers reusable containers

In France, the Naked Drive is a supermarket like no other: you will find all the products of a classic supermarket, but in reusable containers: glass jars, canvas bags…

Each time you go shopping, you bring back the container you used last time, the team takes care of washing it and putting it back in the circuit. A kind of reverse deposit!

France 🇫🇷

A consigned glass bottle at the supermarket

Gérard Bellet created Jean Bouteille to allow individuals to buy liquid products in bulk: olive or nut oil, mint and grenadine syrup, craft beers, wine, and even hygiene products such as laundry detergent and liquid soaps.

The principle is simple: take an empty glass bottle from the supermarket shelves, fill it with the product of your choice, go to the checkout and enjoy. Once the product is finished, return to the store with your empty bottle and start again. It’s child’s play!

It will be used 100 times, hence a life of 7 to 10 years!

France 🇫🇷

A package that can be reused 100 times

Tired of receiving packages full of packaging, which ended up in the trash, Anne-Sophie and Léa founded Hipli in 2019 in Le Havre, France. After several months of research and development, they found the perfect recipe for a flexible package (that can be twisted in all directions)!

How it works: you receive a parcel wrapped in a Hipli, which you fold up neatly at home and send back by mail.

It will be used 100 times, hence a life of 7 to 10 years!

France 🇫🇷

A practical guide to reduce plastic consumption

After being a dancer and a journalist, Nelly Pons opened Pandora’s box of plastic. She discovered what lies behind a small, everyday plastic item. Three years after starting her research, she published a major investigation that revealed the complexity of the plastic problem.

She continued her work and created a practical guide to de-plasticize one’s life, aimed at citizens. Where are the plastics in our daily lives? How can we live without them? As a guide to daily life, this manual is what you need to step-by-step break free from our dependence on plastics.

France 🇫🇷

Street kiosks that offer tap water

In Senegal, the company Swiss Fresh Water has opened water kiosks equipped with water treatment machines. Madame Camara manages one of these kiosks in Keur Massar With her water treatment system, she can produce 300 to 400 liters of drinking water per day, which she then distributes to residents who come to fill their reusable bottles.

In addition to eliminating viruses, parasites, and heavy metals (fluoride, lead, mercury), this system allows for a significant reduction in the use of water sachets and plastic bottles.

Senegal 🇸🇳

Help us enrich the exhibition

Are there any other objects or materials that you know of that could replace plastic in our daily lives? Write to us so that we can include them in the exhibition!