20 Surprising things that contain plastic

It’s no surprise that we’re in a bit of a plastic crisis at the moment. But there are a lot of surprising things that contain plastic.

These are things we use every day and wouldn’t even think that they could contain plastic. or worse yet, seemingly eco-friendly things that contain plastic.

No matter how you look at it, these items are doing a lot of damage to our ecosystems and we need to be aware of the impact they have on our planet.

 surprising things that contain plastic

Here are 20 surprising things that contain plastic:

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1. Chewing Gum -That’s right. Your gum contains plastic. You’re chewing plastic every time you pop a piece in your mouth. Plastic is like the “secret ingredient” in most gums, but of course, they won’t boast about that. They simply put “gum base” which is almost always plastic.

A great alternative is Glee Gum. They’re 100% natural and contain ZERO plastic.

2. Teabags – Most tea bags contain little microplastics that are released when in hot water. So every time you drink your favourite tea from a teabag you’re drinking microplastics.

Opt for loose leaf tea or a brand that has plastic-free tea bags like Numi or Yogi.

3. Coffee Cup – A lot of to-go coffee cups seem like they’d be recyclable. They’re often made from paper or cardboard which is great but coffee or any liquid would soak right through that. That’s why they’re lined with a special plastic coating to keep the liquid in, but it automatically makes it’s un-recyclable. 

Because the inside is plastic when housing a hot liquid it will release microplastics just like teabags. More drinking plastic, yay!

Try to get into the habit of bringing a reusable coffee mug like this one from Klean Kanteen to not only avoid drinking plastic but also the waste of single-use cups.

4. Bandaids – Yes, even the fabric bandaids contain plastic that finds their ways into our landfills and water systems. 

Patch bandaids offer not only plastic-free bandaids but completely compostable ones that leave no trace on the earth!

5. Toothpaste – Whitening kinds of toothpaste contain microbeads (microplastics) for the purpose of exfoliating. It’s the same deal for almost any exfoliator. Not only are these hazardous to our health but they also go straight down the drain. 

My favourite all-natural, sustainable AND plastic-free toothpaste is by David’s . The tube is made from metal and fully recyclable!

6. Nail Polish – nail polish is also guilty of containing plastic. It’s a polymer which means it’s made from plastic. it won’t ever biodegrade, so while acetone may dissolve it, it’s never fully gone. 

Try using brands like Zoya or Pacifica.

7. Menstrual products – Pads and tampons contain so much plastic. plastic that’s dangerous to be putting in or near your body, and plastic that will take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. 

I exclusively use Thinx period underwear. They contain no plastic and they’re reusable so you don’t have to worry about monthly waste! You can get $10 off right here!

8. Glitter – Glitter makes me cringe. I used to love all things glitter and sparkles, and I do think that they’re fun and pretty, but they are a form of microplastic. And just like it takes forever to get off of your skin or out of your hair, it takes forever to break down.

Worse yet, we’ll probably end up drinking these microplastics and animals will too. 

9. Water – As I mentioned above, we often ingest microplastics through the water we drink. Microplastics are such a huge problem that they’re not only in our oceans and lakes but in our tap and even bottled water.

Scientists have even found traces of microplastics in our rainwater/precipitation.

10. Money – Plastic can be found in our physical money as well. Which is no surprise t my fellow Canadians because our money is almost entirely plastic. This might not seem like that big of a deal and there are definitely higher forms of plastic on this list, but people do lose money and it ends up in natures and in our water ways.

11. Tires – Tires also contain plastic. They’re not exclusively made from natural rubber as we’d like to think. This becomes a problem when over time, as we drive, little pieces of plastic are released or fall off of the tires.

12. Fireworks – To be honest, I don’t see the point in fireworks and I think they’re a pointless wasteful invention. You’re basically burning money and releasing plastics and chemicals into the air. But those things fall back down to earth where they pollute our lands, oceans, and were innocent animals ingest them.

13. Paint – Plastics like polyvinyls, polyurethanes, polyesters and acrylics can be found in most paints today. Paints, for the most part, are pretty toxic anyway, but ith the added pollution of plastic it just makes them worse.

14.  Light bulbs – Any sort of “technology” or “electronic” is really, really hard to dispose of because of the intricate parts and acidity. Light bulbs would fall into the same category in my opinion. Most places won’t allow you to just toss them into the recycling bin and this is for many reasons but one of them I believe is that they contain plastic which makes it hard to separate the components when recycling. 

15. Paper cups – Paper cups are similar to coffee cups in the sense that even if they’re made from paper or cardboard, they’re lined with plastic making them unrecyclable.

16. Receipts – Receipts are also coated in plastic which means they can’t be recycled! So frustrating!

17. Salt – There have been traces of microplastic found in sea salt and table salt. This is a direct result of the number of plastics and microplastics that are polluting our planet.

18. Aluminum cans – Not every aluminum can contains plastic. But a lot of them do. This is to further make the cans “leakproof”. What’s frustrating about this is that aluminum is recyclable but if it contains plastic it’s a lot harder to recycle. And most cans won’t have a label letting you know if it does or not.

19. Foil packaging – At first glance, foil packaging seems recyclable but it is, in fact, NOT. It’s also lined with plastic! Avoiding plastic is a lot harder when brands and products don’t disclose that they’re made from plastic and therefore: trash. 

20. Thread – Most sewing thread is made out of the same plastic material as plastic bottles and they can also release microplastics when being washed. 

Related reading:

Things you should never buy new

How to sustainably get rid of old makeup

45 things to get rid of right now

THis post isn’t to ruin your fun or say that it’s wrong to use these things because for one, need tires for my car. THis is just to hep educate and mak up aware of the surprising things that contain plastic so we can make better, more informed decisions.

Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration!

surprising things that contain plastic


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