Did you know these everyday items contain plastic? Image supplied.
We learned a lot during Plastic Free July, and though it’s the start of September we’re still continuing to learn how plastic impacts us and our world. With that in mind we thought we would take this opportunity to share with you a surprising list we found of everyday items that contain plastic. We all know that plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups are bad for the environment and even the more eco-conscious people might not even be aware of the hidden plastic lurking in these items. The truth is – it that plastic is actually everywhere. In the air, in water, in some of our food and drinks. We are said to eat 39,000 to 59,000 microplastic particles a year and breathe in even more.
But what is microplastic?
Microplastic is extremely small pieces of plastic debris resulting from the breakdown of plastic consumer products that are polluting our environment.
Unfortunately, plastic is a part of our everyday lives and although we can try to avoid it as much as we can, there are some items that contain hidden plastics. Here is what we uncovered and some swaps you can make.
The single-use sheet mask is usually made from nylon or polyester and packaged in plastic with aluminium, which makes them hard to recycle. However, there are biodegradable options such as bamboo sheets to help you make a conscious switch.
Like sheet masks, wet wipes which are commonly used, are also made up mostly of polyester and they tend to end up on our beaches or in our oceans from people trying to flush them. They then release microplastics into the water. Again, there are biodegradable options.
Sanitary pads are made up of around 90 per cent plastic. They can take around 450 years to decompose. There are plenty of eco-friendly menstrual product options on the market now. You can check out our article here.
Believe it or not, chewing gum contains plastic. Chewing gum is made up partly of polyethene and polyvinyl acetate., which are forms of plastic. Polyvinyl acetate is also found in PVA glue and polyethene is found in plastic bags. Neither of which are biodegradable. Does that make you think twice about popping a minty stick in your mouth?
Glitter is also a microplastic. So try to avoid anything glitter, including face glitter and craft glitter. However if you must use glitter there are some biodegradable glitters out there like Bio-Glitter.
That favourite sequin party dress hanging in your wardrobe is pretty much made entirely out of plastic. Sequins are made from PVC and are not biodegradable. As yet there aren’t biodegradable sequins so try not to buy them new if you can.
Microbead face washes
Microbeads are very small bits of plastic and microbeads are commonly found in face washes, such as exfoliators. If a product you are using contains microbeads, these beads get washed down the drain and end up in our oceans, where fish eat them thinking they are food. Try to find a greener alternative or swap your exfoliator out for a homemade batch with sugar or coffee grinds.
Yup, your beloved teabags contain plastic too. Teabags contain microplastics and in fact, a single teabag is made out of 11.6 billion microplastics. Even teabags made out of paper have a small amount of plastic to seal the tea in. So the next time you reach for your hot cuppa perhaps opt for loose-leaf tea instead?
Making a few small changes helps reduce the amount of plastic we use and over time those changes certainly add up.