Plastic pollution and the effect it’s having on our planet, especially our oceans, has hit the news big time recently. This upsurge in public interest has been affectionately dubbed ‘The Blue Planet’ effect, as the BBC’s underwater hit brought to light the trouble plastic is causing to millions of households around the nation.

While some plastics can be really useful materials, as we wake up to the problems of pollution a lot of us are trying to cut down on the single-use plastics that have become part of our everyday lives (I’m looking at you straws). But, while things like swapping out a plastic bottle for a reusable one might seem like a no-brainer there are some less obvious hidden plastics that are lurking around our houses.

1) Teabags

Why would you put plastic in a tea bag you ask? A lot of brands use a plastic called polypropylene to seal the bags and stop them from falling apart. Luckily there are lots of tea brands who manage to do this without using plastic, try pukka tea or the Aldi premium range.

2) Tampons

On UK beaches there are nine plastic tampon applicators found per km, but did you also know that most brands put plastic (as well as a whole bunch of chemicals) in the tampon itself? Plastic is included to stop shedding and to strengthen the string, but it also means they are non-biodegradable. If you want to find a plastic-free alternative there are some great organic cotton tampons or for a zero-waste period, why not try THINX pants or a mooncup. It might seem daunting trying something new but there are some great guides and reviews out there.

3) Contact lenses

Contact lenses once they get into the water system are really difficult to recover because they are so small and break apart really easily. While there’s no plastic-free alternatives putting used contact lenses in the bin rather than in the loo or down the sink can make a huge difference.

4) Face wipes

Face wipes as well as causing 93% of the blockages in sewers are also pretty grim for your face. According to a recent glamour article they are the ‘actual worst’ they contain a whole tonne of chemicals which can dry out or irritate your skin and - you guessed it - they are also made of out plastic. Using a good cleanser and a washable flannel and cloth is a great alternative for your skin and the planet.

5) Crisp packets

A recent petition to get crisp brand walkers to create fully biodegradable packaging recently gained over 30,000 signatures, because as well as being made of plastic at the moment crisp packets can’t be recycled at all. And because of the way they’re made crisp packets can hang around in the environment for decades. While there are no alternatives currently, asking your favourite crisp brand about their plans to create recyclable packaging will help move the debate forward.

Have you come across any other hidden plastics in your home or have some top tips we should consider? Let us know!