Hidden plastic in everyday life? Are there really things in our everyday life that contain plastic without us noticing? Yes - unfortunately, these items do exist. And there's probably one of them lurking in your home, guaranteed, if you're not already 100 percent live plastic free. 🙂
In this article, therefore, I would like to introduce you to 33 everyday things that few people know actually contain Plastic hidden. Especially the food section will surprise you!
Hidden plastic in everyday household products
Yes, even in ordinary products from the category of household and life, if you look very closely, you can also find plastic that many would not expect to find there. The following articles are very good examples of the fact that even totally ordinary everyday objects from the mentioned category are hiding plastic:
- Baking paper: Why should baking "paper" contain plastic? Quite simply, so that it doesn't stick to the grid or the baking tray. So ordinary baking paper doesn't really deserve the term "paper" in its name. This confusion also ensures that baking paper usually ends up in the paper waste and not in the residual waste. More about the correct waste separation you will learn in the separate article.
- Crayons & Pencils: Yes, plastic is also hidden in the classic wooden crayon or ordinary pencil. The leads of the pencils are only made break-resistant by a very thin layer of plastic. A cool alternative are these plantable pencils.
- Detergent: When it comes to hidden plastics in everyday life, detergent is a must. Unfortunately, if you examine them closely, you will also find microplastics and so-called water-soluble polymers. Make detergent yourself, is one of the few safe alternatives.
- Cleaning products: Unfortunately, plastic in the form of liquid plastics (cross-polymers) is often hidden in most chemical cleaning agents from the plastic bottle. The microplastic is supposed to abrade the dirt through friction, especially in intensive cleaning agents for stubborn dirt. For example, in glass cleaners.
- Cushion: Almost every ordinary sofa cushion today contains some amount of plastic. Whether it is the filling of polyurethane or the zipper of it pillowcase.
- Glitter: What is mainly used for decoration purposes and looks so inconspicuous, of course, is also not a natural material. Glitter is either pure plastic or aluminum coated with plastic.
- Cigarette filter: Cigarettes not only contain pollutants - unfortunately, plastic is hidden in the filter. Even if the filters are often made of Bioplastics exist, they do not decompose fast enough. And yet, every day, 10 billion Cigarettes in the environment.
- Tampons: Because plastic is also hidden in classic tampons, the plastic can also get into your own body. This is because, in addition to the ribbon on the tampon, the coating of the tampon itself is also made of plastic.
- Textiles: Today, we find polyacrylic, polyamide, polyurethane, polyester and many other plastics in ordinary clothing. So plastic is also hiding in our clothes and this can be seen wonderfully on the label. Due to the fact that the sewing thread used is also produced on a plastic basis, basically every piece of clothing today has a small plastic content. To pay attention to this, sustainable fashion to buy is a very good alternative.
- Toilet paper: Almost all toilet paper is wrapped in plastic. But the fact that there are also plastic residues in the paper itself might come as a surprise to you, right?
So even if we think we've mastered our lives pretty much plastic-free, we're still a long way from reaching our goal. But we are definitely on the right track. By the way, this article was written in great collaboration with the Plastic-free seal FLUSTIX more about the seal, which you can use to identify precisely tested, plastic-free products, at flustix.com - take a look. The seal helps to see 100% plastic-free products at first glance.
Plastic hides in food
It's not bad enough that we find hidden plastic in everyday things like cosmetics or textiles - no. Plastic is also hidden in many foods - you can see exactly where in the following overview:
- Chewing gum: Oh yes - read that right. In order for chewing gum to be as beautifully flexible as you know it, the chewing mass in ordinary chewing gum consists of polymers - in other words, plastics. You can read more about this in the article Plastic in chewing gums.
- Coffee filter: Many coffee - and also tea - drinkers think that the filters and bags are made of biodegradable material. However, these are provided with plastics to make them more tear-resistant. Therefore, coffee filters and tea bags are unfortunately also part of the overview of hidden plastic in everyday life.
- Beer: The hard-to-pronounce plastic polyvinylpolypyrrolidone is used by brewmasters in production - residues have already been detected in beer. The plastic is used so that the beer remains clear for as long as possible.
- Canned food: One might assume that a tin can is simply made of tinplate or aluminum sheet. Unfortunately, plastic is also hidden here in the form of the inner coating of the tin cans, so that the metal is not attacked.
- Sausage, cheese, chocolate, etc.: Unbelievable that plastic even hides in ready-made sausage and other everyday food, isn't it? Unfortunately, this is the truth and even allowed by law. A maximum of 10 mg of the plastic packaging may transfer to the food - that's what the EU Plastics Regulation says.
- TetraPak: Unfortunately, many people dispose of a classic TetraPak in the paper waste and not in the yellow bag. Besides paper, it also contains aluminum and some thin plastic coatings.
- Lids of glass bottles: Unfortunately, plastic is also hidden in the lids of conventional glass bottles - even if they actually look like ordinary metal.
- Sausage and cheese paper: Even if you think that "sausage paper" is made of paper, you are unfortunately mistaken. Because it has a thin plastic coating that serves as a freshness preserver and separator of the food. The same is true for baking paper and cheese paper. In many supermarkets, cheese is now also available packaged in paper packaging - although this then also has a plastic layer to keep it fresh for longer.
- Mineral water: In fact, microplastics were detected in 80% of the mineral waters tested. One more reason to remove the reusable drinking bottle from the Zero Waste Basic Equipment to be preferred.
- Frozen packs: I have been fooled by this myself - but unfortunately the cardboard packaging for fish sticks or frozen spinach also contains a plastic layer. So it is not exclusively cardboard and not exclusively plastic. This packaging is composite packaging and unfortunately complicates the Plastics recycling.
- Table salt: Do you also like to use table salt? Then it is certainly not uninteresting for you that there is hidden plastic in almost 90% of all tested table salts.
Even though plastic on the one hand helps to protect our To make food last longerOn the other hand, it ensures that we separate our waste incorrectly. Many people simply don't know that plastic is hidden in sausage paper or TetraPaks. What's more, many foods contain residual plastic packaging - it's crazy that this is allowed.
Plastic hides in cosmetics
That Microplastics in cosmetics is probably already known to you - because the topic is now much discussed and is in the media from time to time. The small plastics are hidden in the following cosmetic products:
- Toothpaste: Yes, that's right - on the one hand, plastic waste is already created by the packaging - but unfortunately many toothpastes also contain microplastics in the actual toothpaste. Learn in the separate article, how you can use your natural Make toothpaste yourself can.
- Lipsticks: Yes, lipsticks can also hide plastic ingredients - the same applies to eye shadow and powder, by the way. In this case, the cheap plastic acts as a kind of binder.
- Mascara: In fact, almost every mascara has small microplastic components. The alternative is to make the mascara yourself in a natural way.
- Nail polish: If we talk about hidden plastic in everyday life, then it is also mandatory to mention the nail polish. The plastic makes the varnish thicker and more resistant. The plastic-free alternative? Currently only the complete renunciation of nail polish, in the sense of the Zero Waste Lifestyle.
- Peelings: What you feel on your skin in classic scrubs is usually often plastic. The plastic hides in the scrubs to perform the abrasive function on the skin.
- Wet wipes: There must be a reason why wet wipes do not tear as quickly as conventional moist paper towels. Unfortunately, this is often due to the fact that the wipes are not made of cellulose, but a polyester-viscose mix. Added to this is the plastic packaging.
- Sunscreen: There are usually liquid polymers in sunscreens. The plastic hidden in the sunscreen is supposed to provide shine and smoothness. The alternative is called: Make sunscreen yourself.
- Shower gels & shampoos: It is unbelievable how many well-known brands of shower gels and shampoos actually contain plastics in the form of microplastics. The alternative is called natural Aleppo soap in a bar.
Pretty scary, isn't it? On the one hand, that it's even allowed in Germany to hide plastic in such everyday cosmetic products. On the other hand, that we can hardly recognize it without expert knowledge, even if we wanted to. So what can you basically do to check if there is plastic hiding in a product before you buy it? For this I recommend you the CodeCheck Appwhich allows you to simply scan the barcode of a product and receive a response immediately afterwards.
Where else plastic hides
Some things in which you can find hidden plastic, I could not assign to any of the previous categories. In the following I present them to you, because they also absolutely belong on the list with hidden plastic in everyday life:
- Adhesive: Almost every conventional adhesive is made of plastic - whether adhesive on the tape, in the tube or in the glue stick.
- Labels: Even if you buy fruit and fruit in bulk, that's often not yet a plastic free shopping. Because on apples, bananas and other loose foods are usually stuck small stickers, which are either made of plastic or at least have plastic glue.
- Receipt: When you receive a receipt at the checkout, it is usually made of thermal paper, which in turn is covered with a plastic layer and must therefore be disposed of in the residual waste. In the article App for Digital Receipts I present you a project that will change this garbage problem.
- Cardboard boxes: Even a cardboard box does not have to be 100% made of paper. A finished cardboard box often only holds together because it was glued together with adhesive made of plastic. In addition, especially in cartons made of recycled paper, plastic residues from the manufacturing process are often still detectable.
We find hidden plastic basically everywhere
As you have surely noticed in this article, we unfortunately find the plastic in almost all objects nowadays. Whether as Binder, Freshness protection, for a better Liability or simply to do things tearproof to make.
Even when we think we have banned plastic from our lives, it reappears somewhere in a mostly invisible form. Please see the life without plastic therefore always as a long-term goal to stay motivated. It will certainly take some time until we have achieved it - but the alternatives are already on the rise and will ensure that the plastic in our everyday life is gradually reduced until we have finally replaced it. Wipe your mouth - keep going! 😉
Do you have any questions, tips or other products and items hiding plastic that you'd like to share? Then feel free to leave me a comment below this post and I'll incorporate your idea. You might also be interested in the article about the absolutely most superfluous plastic packagingthat have ever been sighted.
PS.: In the Plastic free blog from CareElite you will constantly get more tips about plastic-free living. Maybe you will also find my Zero Waste Online Course "30 Days To Zero Waste" continues. In 30 days, I'll show you how to massively reduce your plastic waste in everyday life without bending. Have fun 🙂