About Willow’s Choice

Sugarcane Plastic- A sweeter, greener alternative to plastic from non- renewable fossil fuel sources

It can be said that climate change is unarguably the biggest challenge we are confronted with today. There is a shift happening everywhere. It's a shift away from fossil fuels like petroleum coal and natural gas to safer, more renewable materials.

Fossil fuels are all around us. They power our cars. They heat our homes. They're in the plastic objects that used by most people daily. Most plastic is made from non-renewable petrochemicals. The extraction process and conversion into plastic releases carbon into the atmosphere, adding to climate change.

For so long, we felt like we didn't have any alternatives, but that's not necessarily true anymore.

These days, you can make plastic from bamboo. You can make plastic from grass. You can make plastic from corn, but there was one alternative in particular that really caught our eye because it didn't upset an ecosystem and it didn't upset food supply. Sugarcane.


Sustainably sourced from Brazil

Willow's Choice sources itssugarcane plastic raw materials from Brazil who with a little over 3 million square miles, is the world's largest grower of sugarcane. A whole third of this huge country is used only for farming, but because sugar cane is a dense and productive plant, growing it only uses about 1% of that farmable land. Brazilian sugarcane is very water efficient. Almost all of it is irrigated naturally by simply rain.

The sugar cane region is in the center South of the country, about 1200 miles away from the Amazon rainforest. So there's no chance of contributing to any deforestation. The good thing about growing sugar cane or any plants is that they capture CO2. At the end of its growing process, the sugar cane is harvested and sent to mills where it's split into two parts, sugar for eating and something else called ethanol. The edible sugar goes one way and the ethanol goes another.


Why sugarcane bio plastic?

Something great about the sugarcane plastic making is the interesting by waste product it produces. It's a pulp called bagasse.

What's so special about the bagasse is it's a biofuel. It's a fuel source that is used to power the entire production process further reducing the need for fossil fuels. They make so much energy from this biofuel that it actually powers the surrounding cities meeting their energy needs.

Another thing that's pretty cool is that they have developed a process of collecting this nutrient rich liquid in the process of milling the sugar and use it as a natural fertilizer for the next season's crops. Virtually no chemical fertilizer is used in Brazilian sugarcane.

Also the sugar cane industry in Brazil uses no genetically modified organisms in their fields. So the sugar for new kind of plastic is GMO-free. When you compare making plastic from sugar cane versus plastic from petroleum, the numbers are pretty astonishing.

The production of 200,000 tons of sugarcane based plastic represents an annual reduction of 800,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere to put that in a different perspective. That's the equivalent to the annual emissions of over 800,000 cars.

And the plant-based bio plastic is exactly like traditional plastic. It's durable, protective, and best of all. It's a hundred percent recyclable. 


How does sugarcane capture carbon and reduce your carbon footprint?

Plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through small pores in their leaves. They need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which leads to the production of sugars, and eventually more complex molecules for use by the plant in growth and metabolism. The carbon dioxide captured during the sugarcane cultivation process (from sugarcane growth until its production) remains stored during the plastic's entire life cycle (as long as it is not incinerated). Every kg of sugar plastic captures and stores approximately 2kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Functional with good eco credentials

The Willow's Choice eco range offers even more functional durability than petroleum based plastic products whilst offering the benefits of being positive, completely sustainable and renewable.