The subscription-based library, called PlasticFree, is the result of two years of research and testing by a cohort of designers, materials experts, scientists and industry leaders. For an annual fee starting at £250 ($300) for a single membership, users have access to credible reports and datasheets outlining properties, accessibility, pricing and sustainability credentials (such as degradability). Other prompts help designers ensure a material is suitable for their project or target market, while real-life case studies show the matter in practice.
The contents listed on the platform are suitable for applications across packaging, textiles, products and built environments, and include raw materials like hemp, cork and bamboo, alongside innovative products such as Notpla’s seaweed-derived paper and leather alternative Mirum. While the majority are 100% plastic-free, there are also several ‘transitional’ options – bioplastics and recycled plastics – that can be adopted as interim solutions while working towards larger plastic reduction goals.
As 2025 target dates for plastic sustainability loom – but look likely to be missed – it’s becoming evident that change needs to happen on a systemic level, rather than just being about using better materials. “We have one simple goal,” says A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland. “Make the designer the smartest, most confident person in the room to push back against that inevitable brief that says: ‘Just use a bioplastic or a recycled polymer, so we get a green tick.’”