6 hidden plastics in your home
Plastic pollution and the effect it’s having on our planet, especially our oceans, has been much talked about in media, news and tv. This upsurge in public interest has been affectionately dubbed ‘The Blue Planet’ effect, as the BBC’s underwater hit in 2017 brought to light the trouble plastic is causing to millions of households around the nation.
While some plastics can be really useful materials, as we wake up to the problems of pollution a lot of us are trying to cut down on the single-use plastics that have become part of our everyday lives. But, while things like swapping out a plastic bottle for a reusable one might seem like a no-brainer there are some less obvious hidden plastics that are lurking around our houses.
These tips are part of something bigger. At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and how your actions add up.
Why would you put plastic in a tea bag you ask? A lot of brands use a plastic called polypropylene to seal the bags and stop them from falling apart. Luckily, most tea brands are moving towards biodegradable plastics and there are many others who manage to do this without using plastic, try PG tips, Clipper, pukka tea or the Aldi premium range and find out more about those that contain plastic here.
On UK beaches there are nine plastic tampon applicators found per km, but did you also know that most brands put plastic (as well as a whole bunch of chemicals) in the tampon itself? Plastic is included to stop shedding and to strengthen the string, but it also means they are non-biodegradable. If you want to find a plastic-free alternative there are some great organic cotton tampons or for a zero-waste period, why not try DAME's reusable applicator, THINX pants or a menstrual cup. It might seem daunting trying something new but there are some great guides and reviews out there.
Contact lenses once they get into the water system are really difficult to recover because they are so small and break apart really easily. While there’s no plastic-free alternatives putting used contact lenses in the bin rather than in the loo or down the sink can make a huge difference.
Face wipes as well as causing 93% of the blockages in sewers are also pretty grim for your face. According to a recent glamour article they are the ‘actual worst’ they contain a whole tonne of chemicals which can dry out or irritate your skin and - you guessed it - they are also made of out plastic. Using a good cleanser and a washable flannel and cloth is a great alternative for your skin and the planet.
A recent petition to get crisp brand walkers to create fully biodegradable packaging recently gained over 30,000 signatures, because as well as being made of plastic at the moment crisp packets can’t be recycled at home. And because of the way they’re made crisp packets can hang around in the environment for decades. Fortunately, crisp packets can now be recycled along with other soft plastics such as plastic bags and plastic wrapping at selected retailers - you can find your nearest here. Alternatively, Terracycle now run a scheme that recycles all crisp packets and other similar packaging such as nut packets - find out more here.
Research from the #Plastic Butts campaign shows that only 1 in 4 people know that cigarette butts are made from plastic. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter in the world and are so common they have become invisible – many of us have stopped even noticing them. It’s estimated that of the 6.5 trillion cigarettes smoked every year, only a third make it to a bin. And those that don’t end up just about everywhere else, where they leach harmful chemicals into the environment and take up to a decade to break down into microplastics, where they are less visible but still harmful.
But what can you do? First of all, make sure you bin your #PlasticButts, and tell your friends too as well. You can also ask your local pub to get an ashtray if they don't already have one, our customisable Ballot Bin voting ashtray is a great option. Last but not least, you can spread the news on social media with the hashtag #PlasticButts, and share this fun graphic on your own channels.
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