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12 Unexpected Items That Contain Plastic

Alternatives to hidden plastic

Single use plastic is hiding in the most unexpected of places. Read on as we uncover 12 items that contain plastic and give you our sustainable, waste free swaps!

Chewing gum

Most chewing gum contains polyethylene, while some contains polyisobutylene, the same plastic used in tyres. 

True Gum is a delicious biodegradable alternative made from all natural ingredients. It is sugar free, certified vegan and zero waste too!  

Surprising items that contain plastic

Disposable paper coffee cups

Did you know that paper coffee cups are lined with plastic to prevent your beverage from seeping through? 

A glass KeepCup is the better option. Made with tempered glass and featuring a silicone band to protect your hand from the heat, this  reusable coffee cup is a stylish and sustainable alternative. 

Surprising items that contain plastic

Aluminium cans

Some beverage manufacturers line the inside of cans with a resin called epoxy to keep the metal from corroding. 

Plan ahead and bring your favourite drink with you in a reusable bottle instead! We have an option for everyone.

Surprising items that contain plastic

Tetra pak packaging

Tetra pak cartons feature a layer of polyethylene between layers of paperboard and aluminium. This means they are not recyclable at all facilities. 

Switch to a zero waste alternative and save tetra pak waste. Ulu Hye plant mylk bases are easy and convenient, and come in a reusable glass jar as well!

Surprising items that contain plastic

Tea bags

Did you know that almost all store bought tea bags contain polyethylene - plastic!?

Switch to loose leaf tea to avoid the plastic altogether and enjoy a nicer tasting cup of tea.

Surprising items that contain plastic

Coffee filters

Same as tea bags, many coffee filters have been coated with plastic of some kind.

Biome's hemp coffee filter is reusable, washable and a completely plastic free alternative.

Surprising items that contain plastic


Glitter is made of microplastics. These tiny plastic particles cause significant damage to the environment. 

Further more most “bio glitter” still contains about 8% petrochemical plastic. So it’s a micro plastic even though marketed as “eco”. There is a 100% natural one called Pure but few brands use it as it’s expensive and not vegan - it’s made from shellac (beetle wings) and urea (animal urine) and if a red colour contains carmine (another beetle). 

Try decorating or crafting without glitter. Your Wild Celebration: Nature Craft for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays + More is a great resource for more sustainable projects.

Surprising items that contain plastic

Synthetic clothing and dryer lint

If your clothes are made from acrylic, microfiber, polyester or nylon, you are wearing plastic. Moreover, your clothes are releasing microplastics into waterways with every wash. 

Wash existing synthetic clothing in a Guppyfriend washing bag to avoid microplastics being released into waterways. 

And when it comes time to update your wardrobe, choose slow fashion over fast fashion. Slow fashion advocates for environmental and social justice in the fashion industry and champions a buy less, choose well, and make it last approach. 

Surprising items that contain plastic

Wet wipes

Wet wipes are made up of mostly plastic, which break up into tiny microplastics when they are discarded. Microplastics are then ingested by wildlife and enter the food chain and water supply.

Reusable baby wipes are a simple and sustainable alternative. Made from organic cotton, they are super soft and free from synthetics.

Surprising items that contain plastic

Microplastics in cosmetics

Microbeads are added to cosmetics for their exfoliant or scrubbing functionality. We put them on our skin or in our mouth and then these plastics are simply washed down the drain! 

Learn how to avoid microbead microplastic pollution here.

Menstrual products

Disposable period pads are mostly plastic, and tampons also contain a significant portion of plastic too. 

Luckily low waste reusable alternatives are available. Reusable pads, menstrual cups and period underwear are available in a range of styles and sizes now.

Surprising items that contain plastic

Cigarette butts

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in the world. The cigarette filter contains plastic fibres and leach toxic chemicals into the environment. 

Talk to your doctor about ways to cut down and quit smoking to not only reduce plastic waste but improve your health too. 

Learn more

Find more ways to live without single use plastic here.

Learn how to make your own sparkling water at home.

Where to recycle blister packs in Australia.

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