Tired of Plastic? These Businesses Have Ideas for You


But to those who are working on alternatives to single-use plastic, the consumer momentum is not disappearing. In fact, founders of several plastic-alternative companies said that they had seen even more interest from consumers in their products, and a renewed commitment from some of the larger companies they work with to press on.

“We’re fortunate enough that we aren’t seeing anyone say, ‘I’m not worried about sustainability, I’m just going to focus on survival right now,’” said Troy Swope, co-founder and chief executive of Footprint, which produces fiber-based alternatives to single-use plastics (cardboard, essentially). “If anything, we’ve seen an acceleration,” he added, since companies often see a boost from using sustainable packaging.

“We found the same level of contamination on the food that we did on the wafer,” he said, adding, “if it’s bad for a wafer, it’s bad for a human.”

Mr. Swope described a trip to Hawaii with Yoke Chung, his Footprint co-founder and colleague at Intel, many years ago where they realized that, because of ocean pollution and climate change, they were going to have to tell their children “what the ocean used to look like.”

“So that combination of what we saw happening to the ocean, and the food contamination and, later on, what it was doing to our kids, made us say, ‘Let’s go do something about it.’”

“We use plastic for five minutes, and it ends up in the ocean for 100 years,” Mr. Paslier said, explaining the company’s interest in providing alternatives to plastic used for on-the-go foods.

The company, which currently only serves the Bay Area with plans to expand, offers around 400 items, with everything from fresh produce and meat to chips and popcorn.



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