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hidden plastics in everyday life | teapigs

Posted by Arden on 20th June 2018

hidden plastics in everyday life | teapigs

Plastics are all over the news at the moment, from plastic straw bans to the latte levy, to the new plastic-free trust mark (the latter of which we’re very proud to be part of!)

Plastic water bottles, bags and straws tend to get the most shame and retribution but plastics wind up in the depths of the ocean in other ways that aren’t as widely discussed. We recently read Martin Dorey’s No. More Plastic. Honestly - such a great, quick read by the founder of the beach clean-up app 2minutesolution, and these are three of the “hidden plastics” in our everyday life that we are going to try and reduce!

In Your Kitchen

We all know that our fruit and veggies come in plastic bags to keep them fresh or portioned and - when we’re busy – a pre-prepared bag of salad can be way more appealing that a big whole lettuce that needs a good clean. We also get through A LOT of milk, mostly sold in plastic gallons and quarts. You’ll even find hidden plastics as a sealant in the majority of regular paper teabags, “paper” disposable coffee cups, and even in the lining of tin cans (for things like beans, chopped tomato, etc.).

Some tips on how to reduce it:

  • Think real food that you buy whole rather than pre-portioned or canned…we know loose fruit and veg options in the grocery stores are dire, but buy loose where possible and why not make a Saturday trip to a local farmers market to avoid the plastic wrap. 
  • Switch to a reusable and recycleable travel mug. One that's easy to clean and use is our keep cup! Check it out here!
  • Keep cotton or reusable tote bags with you all the time… in your bag, in your car (we’re sometimes guilty of forgetting them before heading to the shops!)
  • Reuse or recycle the plastic you do have to bring in to the home
  • Nudge your state to upgrade its recycling capacities and food scraps collection if they’re not up to scratch. Our tea temples and inner plastic bags will biodegrade in large composts but many states don't offer the service.

In your Clothing

Clothing made from acrylic, nylon polypropylene and elastane contains plastic.

When washed, these materials create plastic lint which can make its way to the ocean from our washing machines. Apparently, a single fleece sheds roughly 2 grams of microfibers every wash!

Another problem with clothing made from artificial materials is that if it gets thrown out, it will never fully break down in landfill. Hundreds of millions of clothing are thrown out every spring, meaning, your graphic tees with pizza on the front will live embarrassingly live on forever. 

Solutions:

  • Switch to more natural fibres like cotton or wool.
  • Purchase an In-line filter for your washing machine, to collect the lint.
  • Wash clothes less frequently, at lower temperatures, or make sure the wash is full (which agitates the clothing less, causing fewer fibers to be shed).
  • Donate old clothes or trade clothes with friends.
  • If the clothes are ripped or broken, try repairing them before replacing. Certain brands offer repair services which saves you money and reduces waste. Win win!

In YOUR bathrooms

Some of the worst plastics are hiding in your bathroom.

Wet wipes, cotton buds, and feminine hygiene products—these all contain plastics. Sadly many of these are flushed down the toilets, and into the ocean. Wet wipes are close to becoming outlawed because of this and because they clog up sewer pipes which can cause flooding.

Solutions:

  • Replace wet wipes with reusable flannels, paper tissues, or bamboo wipes which can be composted.
  • Plastic cotton bud sticks can be replaced with wooden or paper ones.
  • Feminine hygiene products are harder to replace but people are quickly moving towards menstrual cup - better for the planet and you'll save LOADS of money in the process. 

Have you got any other tips for avoiding plastics hiding out in everyday items? Let us know in the comments or tell us on social using the tag #BigPlasticClearOut @teapigs                                           

Read more about how we are reducing plastic here: