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7 Surprising Things Made with Plastic

1. Clothes (polyester)

Polyester is a category of polymers derived from a mixture of petroleum derivatives and terephthalic acid. Read here for What is a polymer? Polyester is plastic. Polyester is not biodegradable. We’ve only used this to make clothes since about the 1940s, and before that, natural fibers (wool, linen, and cotton) made up most of our clothing. Feel free to read more about polyester at Good On You. Shop clever clothing.

2. Chewing Gum

Most gum says “gum base” on the ingredient list, which can include PET ♳ (polyethylene) or the most widely used plastic today. Plastic bags and gum have polyethylene in common. It is not digestible, and it is not beneficial for the environment. Chews wisely.

3. Wrapping Paper & Ribbon

A lot of wrapping paper is lined with a plastic membrane to make it resistant to tearing. Also, wrapping paper with foil or glitter includes plastic ingredients. The best practice here is to use non-shiny non-glittery paper. Here is some additional info on recycling wrapping paper. Wrap responsibly.

4. Bandages 

The bag bandages come in, and the part you pull off the back is coated paper, but the sticky part may include one of these plastics: PVC ♵ (polyvinyl chloride) or PET ♳. Because of this, it will take a long time to biodegrade; therefore, every Band-Aid® you’ve ever used will be around much longer than you. Patch is one example of a sustainable alternative. Boo boo better.

5. Glitter

Glitter has plastic in it. Specifically, it includes PET ♳. Then, aluminum is deposited on both sides to make it shiny. Glitter can be dangerous for the environment because microplastics can seep into the soil and our water. Both the metals and plastic used to make glitter are toxic as they release harmful chemicals to animals and humans. Shine elsewhere.

6. Wet Wipes

Wet wipes contain plastic resins like PP ♷ (polypropylene) and PET ♳ woven with cotton fibers. Due to containing plastic, they are not biodegradable in nature or a landfill. They also contain alcohol, chemicals, and preservatives that can be harmful to nature. Just know, there are more sustainable options out there. Wipe wiser.

7. Nail Polish

Oh hey, polymers! Back so soon (see link in item #1 above for more info about polymers). The EPA (environmental protection Agency) considers nail polish hazardous waste, and it should go to hazardous waste facilities. Then there’s glitter nail polish – double whammy. Polish, not pollute, people.

The truth behind what we consume is quite hard to believe. Plastic is ever-present. It is all around us, and it slowly crept into everything right before our eyes. We have to work actively avoid it. That is what I am hoping to change, even if a little. Create awareness, provoke change, and reverse plastic-filled consumption that consumes us and is harming the earth. For most, when you know better, you do better. I cannot be 100% plastic-free; however, I am slowly and actively choosing to purchase more thoughtful products where I can.