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Chewing Gum

I don’t do chewing gum because not only does it come packed in plastic, it is actually made from plastic. Yes, while there are a few natural gums on the market  most chewing gums are actually synthetic…. plastic in fact.

As I am sure you know, chewing gum is a non-nutritive, non-digestible, water-insoluble substance that can be chewed, (duh!), without disintegrating, for a long period of time.

And that it consists of an elastomer, a chewy base, with added sweeteners and  flavours to make the experience more pleasant.

Up until WWII, the chewing gum base was usually made from chicle  a latex sap that comes from the sapodilla tree –  a  natural rubber. This has since been replaced with synthetic rubber, a plastic.

Which Elastomer

Elastomers in gum are what give it the chew.

These used to be and occasionally still are natural latexes such as couma macrocarpa (also called leche caspi or serve), loquat (also called nispero),tunu, elution and the most popular, chicle.

These days most elastomers are synthetic rubbers such as butyl rubber

The raw materials for making butyl rubber are isobutylene and isoprene. Isoprene is a byproduct of  naphtha or oil, and as a side product in the production of ethylene.

Other Stuff

Other ingredients according to Wikipedia  may include the following:

  • Resins: provide a cohesive body or strength, and are most often glycerol esters of gum, terpene resins, and/or polyvinyl acetate ( more about the latter below).
  • Waxes: act as softening agents and are most usually paraffin or microcrystalline wax.
  • Fats: behave as plasticizers and mainly come from hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Emulsifiers: help to hydrate, the most common being lecithin or glycerol monostearate.
  • Fillers: impart texture and the most commonly used are calcium carbonate or talc.
  • Antioxidants: protect from oxidation and extend shelf-life; the most common type is BHT.

The Gum Association says

Gum base ” is made of a combination of food-grade polymers, waxes and softeners that give gum the texture desired by consumers and enable it to effectively deliver sweetness, flavor and various other benefits, including dental benefits.

What are polymers?

A polymer is a string of molecules (monomers) that usually contain carbon and hydrogen. Polymers are found naturally in the human body, animals, plants, and minerals. For example, DNA is a polymer, as are the proteins and starches in the foods we eat.

Man-made polymers can be identical in structure to those found in the natural environment, but in many cases, these polymers provide guaranteed consistency, quality and purity that are not always found in some natural materials. This quality is particularly important for food-grade polymers used as ingredients.

What are food-grade polymers?

Food-grade polymers have been rigorously tested and have been determined to be safe for use in food. In chewing gum, polymers are what provide gum with its basic elastic properties. All polymers used in gum are food-grade and are legally permitted for use by international/national regulatory agencies, including those in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

You can read more about synthetic polymers here.

Safe To Chew?

So are these food grade plastics gums with their paraffin and  yummy vinyl acetate additive  are safe?  Well plastic and paraffin certainly don’t sound appetising and vinyl acetate was once  classified by the Canadian Government as a “potentially high hazard substance.” This was later overturned (2010) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA). The decision was based on information received during the public comment period, and  from the risk assessment conducted by the European Union.

Environmental Hazard?

YES!!! Because it is plastic, gum doesn’t biodegrade – which means it has to be carefully disposed of – either landfilled or incinerated. If it ends up on the street as much of it does, it sticks like mad to the pavement and looks really ugly. It needs to be specially removed – which costs a lot. “The LGA (Local Government Authority points out that the average piece of gum costs about 3p to buy – but 50 times that to clean up (£1.50). Most chewing gum never biodegrades and once it is trodden into the pavement this requires specialised equipment to remove. “

Natural Gums

If you cant give up gum there are some natural gums out there. I have not tried these so please let me know how they taste. And I guess they come plastic packed. Again do let me know.

Peppersmith U.K. do a natural based gum.

It contains Xylitol (wood sugar), Natural chicle gum base, Peppermint oil, Calcium carbonate, Gum arabic (thickner), Rapeseed lecithin (emulsifier), Vegetable glycerol (humectant), Carnauba wax (glazing agent).Suitable for vegetarians.

You can buy it at Holland & Barrett, other stores and of course on line.

Here is a review of 8 of the healthier chews available in the U.S.

Sneaky Plastics

Here are some more products that surprisingly contain plastic.

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Condoms & Lubricants

If all goes well on Valentines day you may well be planning some intimate moments. Time to check out condoms.

Condoms come in the following materials….

Latex: made of latex rubber from rubber trees a natural and therefore biodegradable. Which has led to claims that that latex condoms are biodegradable. Which is hotly debated! Latex condoms contain addatives to make them (amongst other things) stronger. Many people say that even if they do eventually decompose, (not proven),  it takes such a long time as to make any claims of biodegradability  misleading. Certainly the anti-balloon camp do not consider latex balloons to be biodegradable despite what the balloon industry say. So, for the time being, lets leave latex on the shelf for further study.

Synthetic materials: polyisoprene, polyurethane and silicone. All of these are non- biodegradable materials.

Lambskin: sheeps intestines – no good for you vegans out there but definitely biodegradable.

Lets find out more

Here is some blurb from the British Condom shop about Trojan NaturaLambs, the make of lambskin condoms they sell

“These condoms are made from a natural membrane and while that may sound strange at first, they are one of the most comfortable, intimate, and largest condoms on the market. Most notable is their ability to transfer heat.

NaturaLamb condoms also have the exclusive Kling-Tite draw string at the base for added safety.

NOTE: These condoms do NOT protect against STDs, only unwanted pregnancy!”

Some more….

I am sure the packaging will contain plastic elements but then so will all the others. This appears to be the best option for condoms you can compost. The next question is would you want to?

Lube

Lambskin condoms can be used with both water-based and oil-based lubricants. However most commercially produced lubricants come in plastic bottles and many contain paragons, a preservative that causes some people concern. If you want something completely natural, go for for coconut oil. If you like this blog you know we love coconut oil – but don’t take our word for it, read this is a great write up about coconut oil in the bedroom.

NB If you find the smell overwhelming you might like to buy an odourless coconut oil. In Yorkshire? – you can buy coconut oil here

If you want to go for a traditional product here’s a good write up on what is available in the world of lubricants.

Buy From Amazon

Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms (10 Pack) Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms …
£28.99
Made from sheeps intestines
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
£10.00

 

Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

 

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Cardboard laminated

When I started my boycott I soon realized that giving up plastic would be no easy ride but I didn’t really know just how insidious plastic was. In my ignorance I made mistakes. For instance I thought shiny cardboard was shiny because, oh I don’t know, it had been varnished or something. It wasn’t until I put some in the compost heap and saw it disintegrating into separate components that I discovered it was covered with a thin layer of plastic.

Why? The plastic strengthens the base material, makes it waterproof and protects any printed design work

Examples of laminated card include business cards, labels on clothes for sale and some  food containers.

More

and don’t forget , paper and card can also be plastic lined to make waterproof containers. Those paper cups are not just paper. Sigh.

Find other sneaky plastics here….

plastic bags in cardboard boxes

The plastic free cocoa quest has suffered something of a setback.

Last week Mother came bustling in flushed with pride.“I don’t know what all the fuss is about”, she carrolled handing me a box of cocoa from Sainsburys.

Yes, a cardboard box, of cocoa.As if!

How many times have I told her “Squeeze and listen!”.

Most food products in cardboard boxes are further wrapped in plastic bags. To find out if this is so, you have gently squeeze the box and listen for the tell tale crackling of the plastic bag inside.

And yes, you look a right idiot in Supermarkets doing this

Sure enough the cocoa was further packed in a plastic bag – and not even one we can recycle.

Look here for other sneaky plastic.

Find out more about the cocoa quest here

 

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Cardboard Cups & Pots

So you find what looks like a cardboard container full of yummy ice cream or you see that your favourite coffee shop does paper cups. You remember something about waxed paper. Hooray.
STOP
To make paper or cardboard water proof, they are laminated with polyethylene, a plastic resin. These products are in effect very thin plastic containers reinforced.

Other Issues
cardboard containers are made from virgin wood because there are major problems using recycled paper. Regulations are strict about what materials you can use to package food and drink and recycled paper isn’t strong enough.

Recycling
Because these cups are made from paper and plastic they are difficult to recycle. The parts have to separated. Though this can be done it is a complex procedure which adds to the cost of the recycled product.
many recyclers say that they don’t recycle paper cups. Though some claim to. It’s a murkey scenario at best.

Compostable Alternatives
There are compostable cardboard products for food on the market. They are lined with a clear, certified-compostable, cornstarch plastic (PLA).
Vegware for example do a full range.
But  there would need to be far more, large scale municipal composting schemes for this to be a properly effective answer but can check out this rather sweet cup to compost scheme here.

Biodegradable, Compostable Plastics

What is biodegradable? Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here

What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive.

Composting Plastic At Home
FYI While most agree that some  plastics are indeed compostable, many say that they can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. I have used and composted a number of compostable plastic products 

More

Fooled again? Check out the lesser known sneaky plastics here

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How to Exfoliate Plastic Free

Microbeads…. the newest way to exfoliate. These tiny particles, or microbeads, scrub away at the skin supposedly leaving it wonderfully cleansed.  These beads may well deep clean your skin but guess what? Unless otherwise stated, they are almost certainly made from plastic.

After using, they are washed off your face and down the drain and into the ocean where they become pollutants that don’t biodegrade. Truly, plastic is rubbish!

Here’s a really easy way to avoid this problem.

Reusable Products

Cotton Flannels – the old school way to clean up. Rub away the dirt and dead skin…it works, honest.

Want tougher love? try a luffa. These dried fibrous vegetables will buff up your blackheads and polish your butt.  I got mine, unwrapped, from TKMax. I cut off smaller pieces to do my face with. Gently scour.

Then there are natural bristle brushes for body brushing. This is exactly as it sounds. Brushing your body and I love this. I have had my brush for ages and I can’t remember where I got it, but these look quite nice – sustainable beech body with pig bristles – vegans and vegetarians you could try these with tampico fibres. 

Exfoliating Scrubs From the Kitchen….

All these have been recommended on the internet. I usually use the above so cannot really comment.

BE CAREFUL

it is probably good practice to do an allergy test and do some further research.

Disclaimers

If you are happy to bumble along with me and are aware of the risks of listening to someone who

a) doesn’t have any training in this field,

b) most of what they know comes from Google,

Welcome aboard but please, proceed with caution….

Bicarbonate of soda. Before I knew as much as I did about bicarb I did use this occasionally on my face when it got really greasy and blotchy looking. Since I have found out how alkaline it is I think it is best left for the the laundry.  I do not  advise that you use it on your skin.

However if you choose to,  its particles are rough enough to scour off dead skin but not so brutal as to leave you weeping.  You can get plastic free bicarb here.

Pumice is a textural term for a volcanic rock ...

Pumice is a textural term for a volcanic rock that is a solidified frothy lava typically created when super-heated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Salt is good and scratchy and makes a good  scrub. It  is not as harsh as pumice, and you can use it in a plastic bath. I like it for my oily chest but would not use it on my face. You can find  plastic free salt here.

Sugar Scrubs – use sugar mixed with coconut oil.  This one seems to work well .

Oatmeal –  described as soothing, exfoliating, soft (no scratchy edges) and known for its gentle, skin-healthy effects. It also contains vitamins B and E. Grind  up plastic free oats in a food processor. I don’t use this on my face because I have get a reaction to it. I find it too brutal.

Coffee Grounds – grab them out of the pot rub them on.  Let them cool down first! I will use these occasionally and sparingly as it is a bugger to clean the shower afterwards

Other stuff….

For truly brutal exfoliation try pumice powder…arghhhhh. Best suited to hands, feet and really grisly elbows.  Use up to 10% in a moisturising cream base (find out how to make your own right here). Do not use the pumice scrub on sensitive skin. Do not use in a plastic bath – it may take off the surface. Can be bought from Aromantics.   (NB Comes in a plastic bag)

Other plastic free health and beauty products can be found right here

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Foil and Paper, Plastic lined

Now of course I know that nearly all paper products used to package food that have a thin plastic liner.  Foil too is often reinforced this way. And Cardboard.

Why? The plastic strengthens the base material, makes it waterproof.

Plasticized paper products include almost all paper products used in food packaging for example wraps of sugar.

The same goes for most foil wrapped food products including butter. And the metal seals for wine. Damn!

Worse still it can be very hard to spot.

To find out if paper or foil is plastic coated you can try tearing it  which may cause the plastic and paper to part company. Often this won’t happen and the product will tear almost like paper but if you look carefully you will see a very fine frill of clear plastic.

If you are still not sure try soaking the wrapper in water – eventually the paper or foil will separate from the plastic film.

More

Other plastic lined products include cardboard, tins and cans.
Find other sneaky plastics here….

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How to…menstruate plastic free

Why?

Along with cotton buds, tampons, applicators and panty liners make up 7.3 % of items flushed down the toilet in the UK.
For every kilometre of beach included in the Beachwatch survey weekend in 2010, 22.5 towels/panty liners/backing strips, and 8.9 tampon applicators, were found.
About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents.
Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of somewhere.
Read more here

How

There is no doubt menstruation can be a grubby business. So three cheers for the mooncup using, reusable wearing, all green and lovely ladies of clean. Here’s what they use

Resuables

Because of the nature of the product, where it has to go and what it has to do the options do contain some plastic. Shop bought reusable pads may be made of synthetic fibres and have a waterproof backing (though some don’t). Silicone is non biodegradable and very plastic like.  But they are reusable and so cut your plastic consumption by massive amounts. You can find out lots more via the product links.

Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel. They are as they sound. Reusable pad you wash after use. You can buy them ready made from smaller suppliers on Esty to bigger  mainstream companies. You can even make them yourself. Read more here – buy or make Reusable menstrual pads / sanitary towel

Internal / Menstrual Cup  –  This is  little silicone or rubber cup that you use internally. It collects the flow and is then emptied washed and reused. Before you squeal and scream read this

Disposables

Not only do towels and tampons come wrapped in plastic, the fibres used to make them are often synthetic plastic. About 90% of the materials used to make sanitary pads and liners are plastic and include polyethylene, polypropylene and polyacrylate super absorbents. Natracare to a great range of  almost plastic free menstrual products. Try these

Tampon with applicator made from organic cotton with a cardboard applicator in a paper wrapper.

Other Interesting Options 

About which I know very little

Sea Sponges 

There’s an interesting read  here with instructions on how to make your own  and  reviews of ready made here.

Buy Local First

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.

Buy from independent online traders

If you can’t buy local please do check the links above to the suppliers and buy direct from them and support their online businesses.

Finally ….If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…

Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads - 3 - Pack Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
Gladrags Menstrual Color Cotton Pads – 3 – …
£18.67
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size B 1pieces
£19.99
Comes in 2 sizes – check before you buy you can read a review on http://plasticisrubbish.com/2010/01/03/lady-stuff/
Mooncup Menstrual Cup Size A 1pieces
£19.99
Natracare Regular Pads Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With Applicator - Regular 16 Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Natracare Regular Pads
£1.90 – £18.27
Natracare Organic All Cotton Tampons With A…
£2.59
see review on our website http://plasticisrubbish.com/2014/06/26/tampons-with-applicator/
Reusable Hemp Sanitary Towel
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel - Flowers & Birds The Busy Woman's Guide to Cloth Pads GladRags Color Day Pad
Reusable Cotton Sanitary Towel – Flowers &a… The Busy Woman’s Guide to Cloth Pads
by Tracy Puhl
GladRags Color Day Pad
£6.00 –
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This  is not why we do it.

Plastic linings to metal lids

Back in the early days of the boycott I didn’t think of glass jars as an issue – after all they weren’t  plastic so it wasn’t a problem. Of course it was you numbskull.

Look at the lids – that white sticky stuff – the seal? That’s plastic that is…

Googling around and I found this from the containers and packaging site

“Plastisol liners are one method that helps seal metal closures onto containers. Plastisol is a PVC gasket that is used in metal continuous thread and lug (sometimes called twist) closures. It is normally applied to metal lids in a ring shape on the inside of the lid at the point where it will match up with the landing of the bottle.

Plastisol material starts out as a solid. After being heated properly, Plastisol becomes liquidus and forms around the landing of the container that is being sealed. When the material cools it begins to cure, or solidifies, which then creates a tight vacuum seal.”

PVC? Not sure I like that idea.There’s lots more information here on the poison that is  PVC. And despite the industry claiming it is perfectly safe, research is being done into alternatives.  Why you might ask – and so do I. Answers? I have none but”The environmentalist group Greenpeace has advocated the global phase-out of PVC because they claim dioxin is produced as a byproduct of vinyl chloride manufacture and from incineration of waste PVC in domestic garbage.”

 

One alternative could be this from k-online

The development of PVC-free compounds for lug-type twist closures and the corresponding production processes took place before the background of the 4th Amendment 2007/19/ EC of the Plastics Directive 2002/72/EC, which no longer permits the use of some phthalates as plasticisers in PVC-based seals of closures that come into contact with food. This marked an end to the exceptions with which EU and national authorities made allowances for the industry’s difficulties in finding solutions to the migration problems. Accordingly, manufacturers of metal lug closures, food producers, bottlers and retailers are under a great deal of pressure to bring products to market that are environmentally friendly, user-friendly and, above all, comply with statutory regulations.

This TPE is free of plasticisers and PVC and is useable with a wide range of lug-type twist caps (from 38 to 82 mm in diameter). Besides those properties that are indispensible in a sealant – good processability, pasturisability, compliance with the law – this new PVC-free compound ensures compliance with the valid migration thresholds even for oily foods with longer shelf-lives (e.g., antipasti). This was confirmed * in multiple individual tests. Thus vacuum twist seals with sealant compounds by Actega DS are the preferred solution for low-migration food storage and help food industry customers keep their products from becoming entangled in the problems associated with unhealthy packaging. Moreover, the new product also addressed the need to maintain a reliable vacuum until the closure is first opened and user-friendly resealability.

So I try not to use jars.

Look here for other sneaky plastic.

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Why does my tin can have a plastic liner and is it bad for me?

Metal food and beverage cans have a thin coating on the interior surface, which is essential to prevent corrosion of the can and contamination of food and beverages with dissolved metals (UK FSA, 2002).

Cans

Aluminium drinks cans have a polymer plastic lining. It’s there to stop acids in the beverage from corroding the metal which is not good for the can or the flavor of the contents.,If you don’t believe me, you can try this experiment, as done by Steve Spangler, to separate the two. However you will need to be “a chemistry teacher or someone with the proper training to handle hazardous chemicals”)

If you are neither, just make do with this picture.

You might wish to know that when the can is recycled, the liner is burnt off.

“The History of the Liner – Technicians at the American Can Company, even before Prohibition, began toying with the idea of putting beer in a can. As early as 1929, Anheuser-Busch and Pabst experimented with the canning process. Schlitzeven proposed a can design that looked like a small barrel.

The major problem the early researchers were confronted with, however, was not strength, but the can’s liner. Several years and most of the early research funds were spent to solve this perplexing problem. Beer has a strong affinity for metal, causing precipitated salts and a foul taste. The brewers called the condition “metal turbidity”.

The American Can Company produced the flat or punch top can in 1934. The lining was made from a Union Carbide product called “Vinylite”, a plastic product which was trademarked “keglined” on September 25, 1934.”  Steve Spangler

Tins

Nearly all tin cans are plastic lined with epoxy resin.

They have been since the 50s.

In tins the liner can be white or yellow or transparent in which case it is  undetectable.  In most cases it is best to assume that your can has a plastic liner.

It helps to prevent canned foods from becoming tainted or spoiled by bacterial contamination.

Epoxy resins, are used because of their “exceptional combination of toughness, adhesion, formability and chemical resistance.”

these coatings make it possible for food products to maintain their quality and taste, while extending shelf life.

Bad for you?

You might not want to know that the lining contains Bisphenol A (BPA) a chemical building block that is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins.

 So what?? To cut a long story short it would seem that BPA is toxic and does leach from plastic liners into the food.

The Bisphenol A Organisation argues that it is in such small amounts as to be negligible.

Based on the results of the SPI study, the estimated dietary intake of BPA from can coatings is less than 0.00011 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day. Stated another way, an average adult consumer would have to ingest more than 230 kilograms (or about 500 pounds) of canned food and beverages every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

It is true that several scientific panels including the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Food, the National Toxicology Program and the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have concluded that the claims that low doses of BPA affect human health have not (yet ), been substantiated. While accepting that animal testing has produced adverse results, they can find no concrete evidence that humans will react the same way.

BUT BPA is now considered by many to be  a hormone disruptor, a chemical that alters the body’s normal hormonal activity. There are many counter claims on the internet and in the media  that BPA  is lethal. You can read all the arguments  here

Why  use BPA at all  you might ask ? Here’s some information from the bishenol-a.org

It must also be noted that  despite claims that BPA is as safe as safe, research is  ongoing into alternatives. And maybe they have found one. According to Food Production Daily

“Researchers in the United States have developed a chemical derived from sugar with the potential to replace bisphenol A (BPA) in a number of products, including the lining of food cans. The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) said Professor Michael Jaffe had received a US patent for an epoxy resin based on isosorbide diglycidyl ether that could make consumer products safer.

“The patent will enable us to create a family of isosorbide-based epoxy resins that have the potential to replace bisphenol A in a number of products including food can linings”, Jaffe told FoodProductionDaily.com.

Note  the statement by Food Production Daily that this will  make consumer products safer. And I hardly need say that the creators of this new product are clear in their statements that BPA is not a good thing.

Hmmm – the choice is yours. As for me I boycott nearly all tins and cans – tonic, tomatoes, coconut milk, tomato puree and baked beans are the exceptions. I don’t like the plastic or the BPA.

Related Articles

You can find more reports, studies and media scares on BPA here

And how to make epoxy resin here

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Rubber – PVC free

I didn’t know that PVC was found in rubbers but here you go ….

from the blurb….

PVC-free thermoplastic rubber erasers, measuring 35x31x8mm, manufactured in the EU.
PVC has long been recognised as a particularly hazardous plastic – vinyl chloride itself being a known carcinogen threatening the liver, and the byproduct dioxins from manufacture and incineration can persist long in the environment and travel great distances; these are linked to immune system suppression, reproductive disorders and cancer.

Yowser – maybe you dont want that in your pencil case. You can read more about The PVC debate here

You can buy the PVC Free Rubber here

You can read more about pens & pencils here….

Look here for other sneaky plastic.

Find more  plastic free products here >>>A-Z<<< plastic free index.


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Toothpaste, toothpowder, dentifrice

Dentifrice – toothpaste or  toothpowder whichever, it  is basically an abrasive to clean and polish the teeth.

However it comes packed in masses of plastic.

Which is bad BUT worse still it may contain plastic! Did you know that at least 12  Crest  toothpastes have been identified as containing  microbeads of polyethylene (PE).  You can find which products here. Do take a look because you wont find plastic listed in the ingredients a fact  I find worrying.

Why are they there? It seems they  added for decorative purposes only. However dental hygenists are concerned and I quote Trish Walraven

“I am not saying that polyethylene is causing gum problems. I’d be jumping too soon to that conclusion without scientific proof.  But what I am saying definitively is that plastic is in your toothpaste, and that some of it is left behind even after you’re finished brushing and rinsing with it.”

Bits of plastic get stuck in your gums! But  I strongly reccomend that you read her excellent article  in full and then consider using a different dentifrice.

Plastic Free Dentifrice 

You can use salt. UGHH  

bicarbonate of soda –  can be used neat. Also ugh!!!

“Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), a product used for many years by itself or in combination with other ingredients has several excellent properties. As a soft crystalline substance that dissolves readily, it has a mild abrasive potential. In solution it will kill on contact all of the motile microorganisms associated with periodontal infections, e.g. spirochetes, motile rods, etc. It will also kill other disease related bacteria. It will also neutralize and detoxify the bacterial acids and toxins that form in plaques (bacterial biofilms). ” for more got to mizar

You can buy plastic free bicarb here

BUT for all its sterling qualities, I find it far too soapy tasting to use un-cut.

So I go for…

Home made Tooth Powder / Paste with Bi-carb

So I mix it with two other famous dentifrices known for their soft polishing action and Orris Root. Orris root is a natural preservative and helps the flavor along.
1 part chalk
1 part kaolin
1 part Orris Root
1 part bicarb

Put in a jar and shake well – use as tooth powder or mix to a stiff paste with water.

Or, if you still cant stand the taste, leave out the bicarb.

You can add flavour with peppermint oil. It is just like real toothpaste. Even leaves white marks on your clothes!

You can buy the chalk, kaolin and Orris Root from Aromantics . The products come in a plastic bags – booo… but they are polythene so easily recycled and  I get huge amounts tooth powder out of one small bag of ingredients.  I consider it a worthwhile compromise and far less plastic than any other option.

Ready Made Toothpaste

There are still some tooth pastes come in metal tubes BUT be aware that all metal tubed toothpastes I have come across have a plastic cap and the tubes are lined with a plastic liner. If you are happy to go ahead one such is

Marvis Classic Strong Mint Toothpaste

Apparently ” What makes Marvis unique is the range of exotic flavours – enticing and addictive tastes that produce a whirlwind of sensations. Marvis search the world to bring you irresistible new and original flavours that turn the simple act of teeth brushing into a daily pleasure of discovery and taste.”

Next…which  toothbrush 

More info

http://www.self.com/story/alternative-toothpastes-do-they-work
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21290981 How abrasive.
Bentonite clay how toxic https://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/gras/scogs/ucm260870.htm

DIY tooth whitening from Colgate http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/cosmetic-dentistry/teeth-whitening/article/how-to-make-your-own-teeth-whitening-paste-0315