Seven things you might not know contain hidden plastic

Our appetite for products made from or containing plastic has been insatiable over recent decades.

hidden plastics

But plastic is not so fantastic… only about 9% of ALL the plastic ever produced has been recycled, the rest has been incinerated, sent to landfill or made its way into our oceans.

Sometimes plastic sneaks into our lives in places where we don’t actually expect it.

Here are seven common things that contain hidden plastic:

Coffee cups

Disposable coffee cups

That's right – it might look like cardboard but there’s a plastic layer inside helping to make it waterproof. While coffee cups can be recycled they often aren’t as the lining needs to be separated from the paper first and that’s a complex process, costing extra time and money. As a result, we send both plastic and paper into landfill.  

Own your impact by switching to:

A reusable cup

Wet wipes

Wet wipes

They may be convenient, but the popularity of wet wipes (to clean body parts and your home) is bad news for our oceans and sewerage systems.  These wipes contain plastic (even the flushable and biodegradable ones) and not only do they take up space in landfill for hundreds of years, they’ve also been responsible for causing fatbergs.

Own your impact by switching to:

  • Reusable wash cloths



As annoying/beautiful (delete as appropriate) as it is, glitter is actually just tiny pieces of plastic. The smaller the plastic the easier it is to enter our oceans and rivers and the likelihood of it being ingested by marine life increases.

Own your impact by switching to:

  • Colour paper confetti… but only if you really must!

tea bags


Believe it or not, your humble cuppa may be adding to plastic pollution! Most teabags still contain plastic to help ensure they don’t disintegrate in the water.

Own your impact by switching to:

  • Loose leaf tea



Did you know that with almost every load of washing you’re sending microplastics into our water system? Man-made fibres like polyester, nylon and microfibre fleeces shed tiny pieces of plastic every time they are washed. While we may not notice it, our marine life does!  

Own your impact by:

  • Buying natural fibres whenever possible
  • Washing synthetic items only when needed
  • Investing in a microplastic filtering system


Cigarette butts

Cigarette butts are one of the biggest polluters of Australian waterways and one of the reasons for this is that they don’t break down thanks to the complex mix of materials, including plastic found within them.

Own your impact by:

  • Quitting
  • Disposing of cigarette butts responsibly (ie ensuring they go into landfill rather than become litter polluting parks, rivers and oceans)

foil packaging

Foil packaging

There’s a reason why so many chip and chocolate packets are found during beach clean ups. While this packaging may look like foil it contains plastic too making them extremely long lasting (unlike the items they contain…).

Own your impact by:

  • Looking for chocolates wrapped in paper or cardboard and traditional aluminium foil
  • Buying fewer packaged items

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