Plastic facts: 5 foods you never knew contained plastic

Foods you never knew contained plastic

Everyone loves a little surprise, right? In contrast, noticing that a product is not what it seems isn’t cool at all. For all of you who prefer a sustainable and plastic free lifestyle, we have created this list with plastic facts to keep you from nasty surprises in your daily shopping routine. Here are some plastic facts that may be new to you and 5 foods you never knew contained plastic.

#1: Plastic facts about chewing gum

Sounds really disgusting but it’s the truth: Chewing gum manufacturers use rubbers and plastics in their products just because it’s cheap. And they don’t have to declare it in the list of ingredients because this is considered trade secrets. What you can read there is “gum base” and that can be polyethylene or polyisobutylene which are used to make plastic bottles, plastic bags and tyres. There are few chewing gum brands that don’t contain plastic, for example this one or this one. But watch out, the gum may be wrapped in plastic.

What should I do instead?

So the best thing to avoid plastics here is to buy no chewing gum at all. We’re really sorry. But you don’t really wanna go on chewing on plastics, do you? So head over to mint pastilles or drops that come in pretty little metal pillboxes if you wanna keep your breath nice and fresh. Or if you’re at home and wanna keep it simple: just take a few leaves of peppermint, sage or parsley or a piece of ginger.

Tea bags: sealed with a kiss – and plastic

#2 Plastic facts about tea bags


Yes, we’re not talking about the packaging of the tea, but about the teabags themselves. Even though the tea may be organic and the bag often consists of cellulose or abacá (Manila hemp), many manufacturers use polypropylene to seal the bags. And of course there are those pyramid-like teabags which are made of polylactic acid – although this is known as a “biodegradable” plastic, it needs a certain temperature which can only be found in industrial compost works. So this is just another kind of microplastic that can for example harm blue mussels in their metabolic process.

What should I do instead?

There are tea manufacturers that don’t use plastics in their teabags. To be absolutely sure that your favorite tea is plastic free, send an e-mail to the manufacturer. Or even better: Use loose leaf tea.

Sea salt: Plastic in every ocean

#3: Plastic facts about sea salt

If you think about it for a second, it does make sense: Sea salt comes from the sea – and where do we find tons of plastic? Right, in the sea. More precisely, it’s microplastics from polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Researchers from the USA, Spain, China, the UK, France and Malaysia took surveys on sea salt in the past few years – and all of them found plastic in almost every type of sea salt they tested.

What should I do instead?

You can use rock salt or evaporated salt. And as we all know that too much salt, whether it contains plastic or not, isn’t healthy. So you could try to cut down on your salt consumption through using other spices and herbs.

Food and drinks from cans have plastic in their lids

#4: Plastic facts about tin and drink cans

Drink and tin cans are usually made out of tinplate, tin-free steel or aluminium. But that’s not the whole story: The majority of food and drink cans is coated with plastic to keep acids from corroding the metal. Even if you buy food that comes in glass containers, the lid may contain plastic. The bisphenol A (BPA) can shade off into the drink or food in the can. As we shared in another blogpost, BPA may cause infertility and different diseases.

What should I do instead?

To avoid plastic in food – we guess you’ve heard this before – buy fresh, seasonal food from your local grocery store or a plastic free shop, whenever possible. Buy dried pulses and soak them overnight. It’s not a big deal. Once you’re used to eating only fresh food, you wouldn’t wanna go back – it’s healthier and more tasty anyway.

Frozen food: The packaging is not just paper

#5: Plastic facts about frozen food

Of course, having a little reserve in your freezer is nice and useful. But there is a big “but”: Not only does frozen food from the supermarket often contain flavor enhancers, preservatives and other additives. Even if it’s not packed in plastic but in a paperboard container, this container will most likely contain plastics. The boxes are not made exclusively of paper, but have a layer of plastics on them to keep the food from soaking through. The fact that these packagings are made of cardboard and plastic makes them hard to recycle.

What should I do instead?

Actually you should use your freezer for keeping leftovers or saving fresh vegetables and fruit when it’s the season and you have just too much of it too eat at one time. Also meal prep is a great thing: If you’re cooking anyway, why not make a few servings more? You can prepare your lunch for yourself and your family for a few days in advance and keep the meals in the fridge or freezer. Like that, you do not only save money and plastic packagings – homemade food always tastes better. Meal prep is king! You can find many budget friendly meal prep ideas for example here.

After reading all those sad plastic facts, you probably think: Wow, there’s nothing left to eat in this world that doesn’t contain plastic. We got you! But relax: There are alternatives to everything and more and more manufacturers keep an eye on avoiding plastics wherever possible. Support those companies and dealers. Eat seasonal, regional and organic food. Now that’s a lot and it won’t hurt, we promise!


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