Wheat Straw: The Future Of Plastic
It’s a hard fact to face but as a population, we’re dependent on plastic. It’s convenient, highly customizable and easy to mass-manufacture. There’s only one downside — it’s destroying the planet.
In the beauty industry, more than 120 billion units of plastic are produced annually, plastic that will sit in landfills forever. As people who care deeply about our home (our one and only planet Earth), we can’t, with good conscience put our products in bottles that cause harm to the planet. So, to kick off the new year, we’re making a big change — one we’re overjoyed to announce: we are now Quebec’s first skincare company to offer their products in fully-compostable wheat-straw plastic (WSP) packaging — the plastic of the future!
We can’t tell you enough how much we love this material — it’s incredible. WSP uses a naturally occurring cellulose found in a number of free-standing plants, namely trees, wheat and some types of hardy long-grass. This cellulose is known best as lignin. Lignin’s job in the plant is to reinforce cell walls. Essentially, lignin is what makes these plants strong enough to stand up on their own. But here’s where it gets really good, lignin is extracted from the by-products of wheat processing. This is amazing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we’re getting the most out of our wheat crops (over 765 million metric tonnes of wheat are produced globally each year). Secondly, we do it without any extra farming at all — the wheat can still be fully-processed as an edible crop, the leftovers, which are known as wheat straw, can be processed separately to extract the valuable lignin.
That’s a big deal! Currently, we burn the vast majority of our wheat straw, meaning along with all the carbon emissions created, all that valuable lignin is going up in smoke. As a crop, wheat consumes more CO2 than it emits, so by processing wheat straw, instead of burning it, we’re reducing global carbon levels. By mixing lignin with a bit of sugar we’re able to create a fully biodegradable, extremely durable and toxin-free plastic. The best part: the material breaks down entirely in as little as 1 month.
At Apprenti Ôr’Ganik, we’re always looking for ways to contribute to a better future, one where human beings and nature can exist in harmony. We believe in using materials that protect and celebrate the beauty of the natural world and we hope, in turn, to find that beauty within ourselves.