Eight Surprising Items Containing Plastic – and Good Substitutes

Eight Surprising Items Containing Plastic – and Good Substitutes

If you’ve been trying to cut down on plastic use in order to become greener, you might be surprised to discover just how many items contain plastic. Then it is a case of finding plastic-free substitutes if you can, for a healthier, eco-friendly lifestyle. Here are some shockers, and sensible substitutes.

1. Tin Cans and Drinks Cans

These actually have a plastic coating to protect the metal. Use bottles and jars instead, or skip the convenience foods out of a can and cook yourself every day.

2. Glass Jar Lids

The lids are also coated with plastic to protect them from the ingredients in the jar. Healthier alternatives include Ball jars and Mason jars. Remove the food from the packaging as soon as you get it home so no plastic leaches into your food. Note that the rubber rings will usually disintegrate after a time and need to be replaced, but otherwise, any set you invest in will last for years to come.

3. Takeaway Coffee Cups

Some are made of Styrofoam, others of paper coated with plastic. The hot coffee can react with the plastic, producing harmful chemicals. And there are mountains of them in our landfills.

Save money by kicking the coffee shop habit and making it at home. Use a stainless steel travel mug. Use a traditional coffee maker with a stainless reusable filter to also cut down on waste. Never use a Keurig or other single-cup maker as the small plastic tubs will create a mountain of trash. There are reusable plastic pods but they are a mess to use, and the problem is the same — the danger of plastic leaching into your food and drink. Don’t forget to use the grounds as mulch in your garden.

4. Teabags

Teabags can have various coatings on them and other chemicals as well, some of which are used to bleach the teabag paper. The boxes they come in are responsible for cardboard and plastic waste. A better solution is to use loose tea in a caddy or an infuser, and a travel mug. Use the discarded leaves to give your garden a boost.

5. Disposable Diapers

Disposable diapers use lots of plastic and chemicals. The plastic prevents the skin from breathing and can cause diaper rash. The liquid-absorbing chemicals can burn or scratch baby’s skin. The diapers sit in a landfill for years, and the plastic and chemicals can leach into water supply due to rain and runoff.

Cloth diapers can be a better solution, as is potty training your child as soon as possible to avoid all of the expense and hassle of soiled diapers.

6. Glitter

Glitter is basically finely ground-up plastic. It is used on cards, wrapping paper, in makeup and more. If you can’t live without glitter, eco-friendly alternatives include biodegradable and even vegan glitters in an array of colors.

7. Biodegradable Corn-Based Packing Peanuts

You might think these are purely corn, but no – they contain plastic as well. Solutions for protecting the contents of packages when you ship them can include brown paper and inflatable plastic bags that can be reused.

8. Tetra Paks

These might seem green, but the cardboard is coated with plastic to keep it waterproof. This can react with your milk and so on. The plastic also makes it more difficult to recycle, so be sure to look at your local sanitation department rules. Some dairies still use glass bottles for their milk that you can return or recycle.

If you are concerned about all the plastic waste in our oceans and landfills, using these substitutes is a good start.

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