Peeling Back the Plastic Curtain Transparency as a form of innovation

Polymers synthesized from petroleum, synthetic rubbers, and other additives similar to the composition of car tires: these are the ingredients that make up chewing gum. These oil based synthetics are not broken down in the natural environment, nor properly digested in the human body. Source: Just One Ocean
Cigarette filters, or "butts," are made from a plastic acetate material. 2/3 of the 5.6 trillion cigarette butts disposed of annually are improperly thrown away as litter, resulting in cigarette filters being the single most collected item on the world’s beaches.
Not only are these plastics not biodegradable, they leach toxic chemicals — including acetic acid, hexamine, arsenic, and chromium — into our waters, remaining possibly as long as 10 years. Source: 5 Gyres
Tea bags are made from a plastic material called PET, which has been found to contain hormones similar to estrogen. The heat at which PET begins to break down is 169 degrees Fahrenheit; water's boiling point is 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Source: The Atlantic, Science News
Face wipes, baby wipes, cleaning wipes -- no matter the kind, these products are made from polypropylene or polyethylene fibres -- a non biodegradable, plastic material that washes into our waterways and contributes to 93% of sewer clogs, or “fatbergs,” in the UK alone. Fat, oil and grease only make up 0.5 percent. Source: Water UK

We dispose of 16 billion coffee cups globally, each year. While these to-go cups may seem easily disposable, the thin plastic lining laminating the inside of the cups pose a serious problem for most recycling centers, resulting in less than 1 percent of coffee cups being recycled a year. These plastics are also the same polymers found in tea sachets, meaning while they aren't degrading in the natural environment, they are melting in our cups as we drink them.

Source: Earth Day

As microplastics wash into our ocean, it has been found that more than a third of fish caught in the UK contain some remnants of plastics. Meaning as more fish eat the plastic that washes into the ocean, we in turn consume the material when we eat fish.

Source: The University of Plymouth

In a study conducted in 2017, close to 50 percent of the particles extracted from 17 different types of sea salt were microplastics. Only one of the tested salts contained little to no traces of the material. Source: PubMed

There are at least 67 different types of microplastics found in cosmetic products like lipstick, mascara, eyeshadow, and deodorant, among others. While the human body may sweat off these substances, skin being the most absorbent part of the body, absorbs many cosmetics into the bloodstream, their plastics included.

Source: TAUW

Toothbrushes and toothpaste are two big purveyors of the plastic problem. 50 million pounds of non recyclable, non biodegradable toothbrushes are dumped into landfills every year, and release the poison gas nitrous oxide in the creation of their signature nylon bristles. Toothpaste, meanwhile, is filled with tiny microplastics and beads that not only wind up in our waterways, but don't disintegrate in our gums, trapping bacteria that dentists believe may lead to possible gingivitis.

Sources: The Washington Post, Foreo

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