Five Things You Didn’t Know Contain Plastic
A few years ago, when I started becoming more aware of living sustainably, I was feeling pretty good about reducing plastics in our home. When I started looking deeper and found some sneaky everyday items which I didn’t realise contain plastic. Product names can be misleading and they do not give any clue of what they contain. Read on and you may be surprised too.
Some Types of Fabric – Now that the colder weather is drawing near, you may find yourself at the shops looking for a nice warm jumper or three! Materials like fleece, polyester, acrylic and nylon all contain plastic in part or full. They are a by-product of the petroleum extraction process and shed microplastics when washed and pollute water supply. Sustainable alternatives to these fabrics are cotton, Tencel, linen, wool, hemp, bamboo, viscose and modal. Though these are more sustainable, not all these materials are appropriate for winter wear. If unavoidable to use as they are often more easily available commercially, the low impact way to purchase is buy from companies that use sustainable manufacturing practices where you can see the products will have a long life. Uniqlo have a recycle program where they have a clothing collection bin at their stores and old down fabric in their jackets and other products is repurposed to make new clothing. They also distribute wearable donated clothing to people and communities in need. Unfolded is a start up that is changing the relationship with demand by designing in partnership with real women, producing in small batches, paying workers fairly and using high quality fabric. This way they are reducing the millions of unsold clothes that end up in the landfill.
Dish sponges – One of the most commonly used household products, an almost unavoidable item in the home. The average household changes dish sponges every 1.5 to 2 weeks, meaning they have a short lifespan and over time, we use a large number of them. It is an easy change and worth looking for a plastic free alternative to these. We offer a variety of cleaning sponges made natural materials like cellulose wood pulp and loofah. Not only are they zero waste, they are also free of toxins that are unavoidable in plastic products. Shop plastic free sponges
Bamboo Cups and Plates with Resin - Reusable cutlery which contains plastic resin or melamine release microplastics and is a health risk. A recent article in the Guardian stated that the Food Standards Agency advised retailers to withdraw the products in June 2023*. Look for and carry your own reusable cup like the British made Sole Cup that you can buy from us. Shop reusable cups
Make up Wipes and Cotton buds – Seemingly innocent make up wipes clog and pollute waterways and harm wildlife. Cotton buds containing plastic have been banned in the UK from 1 October 2023. They also contribute to fatbergs – the term coined to mean rock like masses of waste matter usually made up of wet wipes, fat, oil and grease deposits. These products, which have been marketed as ‘flushable’, in fact, cause a lot of damage and cost local governments and councils a lot of money to unclog sewers. Campaigns have been launched against wet wipes because of their effect on sewer systems, most notably by Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society, among other environmental NGOs, who called on the UK's Advertising Standards Authority to end “misleading” branding and packaging.* You can buy sustainably sourced plastic free cotton buds on Orcaandbee.com and our OEKO Tex certified cotton crocheted make up wipes as well. Shop Orca and Bee Make Up Wipes
Dishwasher and Laundry Cleaning Tablets – Commercial dishwasher and laundry cleaning tablets are coated in PVA which is a synthetic plastic polymer and is meant to dissolve upon contact with water. However, it requires certain atmospheric conditions to dissolve so unless present, it does not completely disappear, it creates microplastic which then pollute the water bodies it flows into. A sustainable alternative is to use dishwasher powder or laundry liquid or powder. We carry different brands of refillable laundry detergent and are about to stock a refillable laundry powder and dishwasher powder shortly. Watch this space!
Did you learn something new about plastic pollution?
The Guardian 21 October 2023
Bath News Issue 21 September 2016 https://www.bathecho.co.uk/news/business/wessex-water-lodge-flushable-wet-wipes-complaint-advertising-standards-authority-68775/