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Fast and secure attachments without plastic? FibreStrap's zip ties are made of wood fibers

Zip ties, tie wraps, cable ties — whatever you call them, those simple strips of plastic with their robust built-in locks are undeniably useful. No wonder they're ubiquitous. But scan the ground at a building site, after an event or anywhere else objects have been attached, bundled or secured, and you're bound to spot discarded ties that have fulfilled their one-off purpose.

Since the last thing the world needs is more plastic waste, a Swedish startup has developed an alternative. While traditional ties are made of petroleum-based plastic, FibreStrap uses Scandinavian wood fibers from certified, controlled sources. The locking element is a bio-composite made of sugar cane residues, hemp, a biodegradable polymer and a 'negligible amount of metal. By the company's calculations, its product saves over 85% in CO2 emissions and more than 80% in water consumption.

Independent testing confirmed that FibreStrap meets the requirements set for plastic zip ties: "The test is made to simulate the harsh outdoors environment in Central Sweden for the duration of one year. The product has been exposed to UV-light, humidity and a range of temperatures for 1,000 hours to ensure that it can endure the conditions of different applications," says Tobias Bergarp, co-founder of FibreStrap. And a strap is guaranteed to handle a weight of 12 kg (26.5 lbs).

Production started in November 2023, and FibreStrap was nominated for a Green Product Award in December. The company is currently focused on launching in Europe and the US.

Trend Bite

Billions of zip ties are produced every year. Most are used briefly and many end up as street litter before entering waterways and oceans. From bottles to bags to zip ties, the need to reduce our collective consumption of single-use plastics is indisputable. And part of that comes down to finding innovative alternatives that won't stick around for hundreds of years. As FibreStrap's tagline points out, single-use products should be "made to endure, but not to last."

While governments worldwide are implementing bans and restrictions, their approach is piecemeal, usually outlawing one category of items at a time. Also, policy is focused on environmental harm; for many consumers, that isn't tangible enough to necessitate radical change. But as people become more cognizant of the severe and wide-ranging impacts of microplastics on their own health, they'll start demanding companies take rapid action. Time to zip to the front of the pack?