These hidden plastic in everyday products will surprise you
The more products you pick up, the more plastic you will find. In the present world, for every paper, wood, or other sustainable material-based product I find, I doubt if it is really environment-friendly. If that product really has no plastic in any form? Plastic, being durable, has now become a part of our everyday lives.
We look towards banning SUPs or other products that are visibly made from plastic. But what about the products that have plastic hidden in them? Those products that are made from sustainable materials but still have plastic in small concentrations. These hidden plastics are an easy source of microplastics, thereby contaminating the water bodies, soil, and entire food chain.
See these products that have hidden plastic in them.
1. Paper cup
This had to be at the first place. Paper cups, just because they are made from paper, aren’t really eco-friendly. They are lined with a thin layer of plastic, majorly HDPE. And separating these two layers for recycling isn’t really feasible.
2. Microbeads in cosmetics
Research from the Plastic Soup Foundation showed that 87% of products from the ten best-selling cosmetics brands contain microplastics. The glittering tiny beads, known as microbeads, used in facewashes, scrubs, and toothpastes are made of plastic less than 1 mm in size. Plastics are added to increase volume and add aesthetics to the product.
3. Period Products
Present-day sanitary pads are mostly plastic, with a base layer of PE and a super-absorbent polymer as an absorbent material. Even the tampons have plastic in them. But we need not go the plastic way for menstrual care. Find here all eco-friendly period products for green menstruation.
Fabrics like polyester, acrylic, and nylon are derived from petroleum, emitting three times more CO2 than cotton production. This becomes more worrying when you realise that 60% of all the fabrics are made from petroleum derivatives only. With every wash, these fabrics shed millions of microplastics.
Look for eco-friendly fabrics when you shop for clothing. And not just cotton; there are varied fabrics that are eco-friendly, and Indian brands that are selling sustainable clothing.
5. Cigarette Butts
Cigarette butts are plastic. They are made of cellulose acetate, a man-made plastic material. And people throw these butts in open areas. It’s hard to collect these butts. Even if collected, plastic extraction from these butts is a time and labor intensive process. And hence, all of the discarded butts end up in sewage systems.
6. Tea Bags
Tea bags have polypropylene in them, which prevents the bags from falling apart. These tea bags, when used for brewing at high temperatures, contaminate your cup of tea.
A study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Environmental Science and Technology found that steeping a single plastic tea bag at brewing temperature releases about 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into each cup. Switch to these Indian brands offering organic and eco-friendly tea.
7. Chewing Gum
Ever seen “gum base” as an ingredient listed on chewing gums? This is plastic- typically polyvinyl acetate. Chewing gum cannot be digested and is water insoluble. But typically relying on what’s offered on in the store’s shelves, look for eco-friendly alternatives- the eco-friendly alternative to chewing gum.
Almost all adhesive tapes are made from plastic (PP or PVC), which is toxic and non-biodegradable. But there’s a solution to this as well. Bio-degradable tape is a thing and is easily available in Indian market. Switch to these sustainable products for your business.
9. Milk cartons
Paper milk cartons are lined with plastic not only inside but outside as well. Approx 25% of carton is plastic. You can demand to get your milk delivered in glass bottles or reusable plastic containers.
10. Face wipes
Used and thrown and later clogging the sewers- that’s the only journey of wipes. They are not made from cotton but from polyester, which is non-biodegradable. Next time you wish to buy wipes, switch to these eco-friendly alternatives instead.
This is the first part of hidden plastics. Isn’t it concerning that the more you dig, the more plastic you find in everything around you? Every paper product you see is lined with plastic, either to make it durable or to give it shine. Then what was the need of using paper at the very first place? Greenwashing in the name of sustainability is something we as consumers need to be aware of.
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