Plastic items are undeniably one of the most essential inventions of the 20th century, having countless uses in almost all aspects of our everyday life. If used wisely and correctly, they can help us achieve things impossible with other materials, but currently, they have been used so extensively and without a proper recycling policy, that they are among the most pervasive pollutants in our environment. This article will help you learn some of the most secret uses of plastic, many of them being virtually undetectable at first glance.
5 Things You Didn’t Know Have Plastic in Them [Slideshow]
What many people don't know is that common table salt contains trace amounts of plastic. A recent study sampled store bought salt from the United States, UK, France, and Spain and found that in most instances the ordinary table salt contained small fragments of plastic. Specifically, they found microfibers from primarily water bottles, one of the most commonly used and discarded plastics in the world. The same study suggests that lake salt and rock salt contain fewer or no traces at all, making them a better solution for those that care about minimizing their plastic consumption.
Chewing gum is by no means a recent invention, as it has been a part of human culture and everyday life since ancient times, with studies suggesting as far back as 5,000 years ago. What is recent though, is that the natural gums (like Arabic gum and Chicle) have been replaced by plastics, artificial coloring, and flavors, that are non-degradable and potentially harmful for the environment and the consumer. Should you want to keep doing this habit, it’s best to choose brands that use natural tree gums that were traditionally used.
Most people might prefer paper cups for their beverages, as they believe them to be easily recyclable compared to plastic cups. The sad truth though, is that paper cups have an inner layer of plastic to prevent leakage and help them tolerate heat, something that makes them very hard to recycle. This directly contributes to the overall pollution and at the same time traces of plastic can dissolve in your hot drink, resulting in another hidden source of plastic consumption. Next time consider filling your thermos or reusable cup, instead of relying on the common paper cups, to help both yourself and the environment.
Microbeads have been (justifiably) under pressure during the last years in the U.S. and across the world, as they are one of the main sources that pollute the water system and our bodies. They’re essentially small traces of plastics in toothpaste, creams, and similar products that help them look better, without contributing favorably in many other ways. Despite the recent bans since 2017, it’s still hard to determine if the market is completely free of them, while at the same time they are still found in cosmetics that you might order online from countries that have no similar regulations. Be sure to check if the brands that you regularly use contain traces of these sneaky plastic beads that harm yourself and our environment.
Tin cans, along with glass and plastic bottles are the most common ways of storing mass-produced drinks, as they are cheap and easy to produce. While most people might think of them as a more, eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottles, they don't realize that tin cans include a thin layer of plastic coating to avoid corrosion. It’s a good idea to avoid them if possible, and always choose easily recyclable glass bottles instead.