Plastic was invented in 1907 by Leo Baekeland, and since then, synthetic materials have been mass-produced and have practically colonized every space in our lives. Furniture, utensils, auto parts, household appliances… plastic seems to be ubiquitous. Plastic is sometimes obvious, but sometimes it hides where you least expect it.
Agh… nearly all chewing gum is made of plastic
Legend has it that chewing gum was invented when we discovered that we could chew the resin of a tree. Well, the natural origin of chewing gum is today … nothing more than a legend. Most commercial chewing gums are made with synthetic rubber, as well as artificial colors and flavors. So you’re practically chewing plastic for hours. Yeah.
Take-out coffee cups
Surely you have wondered about the reason why the paper of your take-out coffee or tea cup does not dissolve with hot water. Well, the answer is simple: because 5-10% is made of plastic. The paper needs a coating to isolate the temperature and to prevent the paper from turning into pulp when it comes in contact with a liquid. This is why bringing your own mug is essential for preserving the environment.
Polyester does not grow on trees
It may seem obvious, but many of us are not always aware when our clothing items are made of synthetic materials, that is, plastic. Polyester is a type of polymer used in the mass production of clothing and has been the invention that enabled the establishment and boom of fast fashion, often meant to wear and discard. Moreover, it is not friendly at all to the environment, polyester takes much longer to dry and doesn’t breathe as well as natural fibers, such as cotton or linen, which can cause skin problems. Sometimes, cheap comes at a high cost.
Shiny wrapping paper
As if feeling awful about all the wrapping that ends up in the garbage can the morning after Christmas, the emotional hangover is worse when you realize that shiny paper is made of plastic film and not paper pulp. Next time you wrap a gift, let your creativity flow and do it with recyclable materials or reuse containers (cereal boxes are a cute detail).