5 Things You Didn’t Know About Plastic
Where did it all come from?
We live in a plastic era. From the clothes we wear to the food we eat; plastic has become a household staple for families and communities around the world. Given its prominence, and the fact that scientists estimate it takes somewhere between 450 -1,000 years to decompose (some argue it will never decompose), it is essential for us to understand this material.
Plastic wasn’t always used the way it is today. The earliest form of plastic dates back as far as 3500 years ago. The ancient Mesoamericans first processed natural rubber into balls, bands and figurines. They would harvest latex from the Panama Rubber Tree plant and process it using liquid from the ‘Morning Glory Vine’.
Modern day plastic made its first appearance during World War II when it was used for military purposes because it was more durable than glass and had a greater range of possible products that could be made from it. Items like tents, raincoats, and windshields for military vehicles were made. Once the war ended manufacturers needed to find new ways to create plastic products that people would want. This is where our plastic addiction began.
- NOT ALL PLASTIC IS CREATED EQUAL.
Plastics are classified into 7 categories according to Resin Identification Codes (RIC). They are differentiated by the temperature at which the material has been heated, and their numerical classification (#1 – #7) only informs you what type of plastic it is- not what affect it has on our health or how it is made, or it's recyclability!!
“While so many plastic products are disposable, plastic lasts forever in the environment. It was the plastics industry that offered recycling as a solution.”
- YOU CAN’T RECYCLE DIRTY PLASTIC.
Be sure to wash your plastics after every use, so they have the chance to be recycled into new material. Most recycling plants do use industrial washers to clean residue, but we need to be the first step to ensure that the maximum amount gets recycled!
- RECYCLING PLASTIC DOWNGRADES ITS QUALITY.
First thing to know is that plastics are simply polymers, long chains of atoms arranged in repeating units often much longer than those found in nature. It's the length of these chains, and the patterns in which they are arranged, are what make polymers strong, lightweight, and flexible. In other words, it’s what makes them so plastic! Every time plastic is recycled, the polymer chain grows shorter, SO ITS QUALITY DECREASES.
- GLASS AND METAL CAN BE RECYCLED INFINITELY.
Yep, absolutely true - glass and metal (including aluminium) can be recycled infinitely without losing quality or purity in the product. So, why on earth did we make the switch from using glass and metal containers to plastic? 3 main reasons:
- Global transportation shipping costs
- Safety – consistency and stability of products without risk of breaking
- MAINSTREAM PERIOD PRODUCTS CONTAIN GENERATE MORE THAN 200,000 TONNES OF PLASTIC WASTE PER YEAR!
What’s the connection between plastics and period products, you may wonder. Did you know the majority of mainstream period products contain plastic polymers? This means that the synthetic period pads you dispose of today, will still be around on the planet far longer than you or I will ever be.
The average number of years a synthetic period pad can remain polluting our soil and water is 800 to 1000 years. Needless to say, the negative impact of plastic filled, synthetic pads to your health is another key consideration. Your decision to continue to purchase a disposable synthetic menstrual product adds to the plastic epidemic significantly, made worse by incorrect disposal.
Did you know that 2.5 million tampons, 1.5 million period pads and 700,000 panty
liners are flushed down toilets every single day in the UK.* [*Journal of IES,
This is why at LUXStore we launched our range of organic and biodegradable period products!
At LUX we're Crowdfunding to raise awareness of Plastic Free Periods>>
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