Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about plastic, single-use plastic items, and the environment. Plastic has been under fire for years due to its negative impact on the environment, both in production, in use, and in its disposal. Made from oil, plastic manufacturing creates an enormous amount of pollution and requires a huge amount of energy. Worst of all, most plastic products are disposable, and though in theory most could be recycled, the majority of plastic items never see the inside of a recycling facility.
Though plastic has been a staple material in the making of many kinds of products for years, stainless steel and other eco-friendly alternatives have steadily begun to become popular. Longer lasting, more durable, and free of the many toxic chemicals present in plastic products, stainless steel alternatives are not only popular amongst manufacturers, but consumers as well.
In this article, we want to do some comparing and contrasting of these two popular materials, discuss their pluses and minuses, and give you the skinny on which is better for you, the environment, and your wallet. If you’ve been considering replacing plastic products in your life with reusable stainless steel versions, keep reading to get inspired!
The Scoop on Plastic
Plastic has been a popular material for manufacturers for decades but has recently come under fire for a number of problems associated with it. Most commonly cited as a major contributor to global pollution and waste, plastic is quickly becoming a less desirable material worldwide, but that doesn’t mean demand is going to go down just yet.
During production, plastic manufacturing releases a huge amount of fossil fuels and can pose a threat to the people working with the material. Comprised of a number of chemicals, plastic manufacturing releases fumes that have been linked with respiratory problems and certain cancers.
The real trouble with plastic is that, while it is long-lasting, it isn’t always reusable. Most plastic products are designed with less than an hour of use in mind, meant to be disposed of quickly and replaced with a new item every time. Whether it be plastic water bottles, straws, grocery bags, produce bags, plates, forks, knives, and so on, most of these items spend the majority of their lives in disuse.
Reusable plastic items may be slightly better for the environment, but that doesn’t make them a good alternative. Consider reusable plastic water bottles: though often made BPA free since scares around the chemical have reduced demand for plastic products, plastic water bottles still contain a number of harmful and unknown chemicals whose effects have yet to be determined. Beyond potential chemical exposure risks, reusable plastic water bottles are prone to scratching and pitting, leaving your bottle vulnerable to buildups of bacteria and mold.
Though plastic is often made to be recyclable, most plastic products are instead littered or simply thrown away. Most commonly found in landfills, polluting oceans, lakes, and rivers, or simply laying on the side of the road, unrecycled plastic can last centuries before beginning to break down. A regular reusable plastic water bottle could take up to 700 years before beginning to decompose. Once plastic does begin to break down, surrounding soil and groundwater could become tainted with harmful chemicals, making the soil and water unsafe to use.
The Facts About Stainless Steel
Stainless steel has quickly become a popular alternative to plastics, and we will tell you why. Firstly, though stainless steel does require a fair amount of energy to produce, the production process is not harmful to the environment or to the people handling the manufacturing. Since the primary raw material in stainless steel manufacturing is scrap metal, there are no harmful chemicals being mixed and the majority of raw stainless steel materials are recycled. Not coated in harmful chemicals or creating any kind of toxic runoff, stainless steel has naturally become a top choice amongst green manufacturers and builders worldwide.
Far more durable than plastic, stainless steel products can last decades with proper care. When made properly and from high-grade materials, stainless steel will never rust, tarnish, or begin to degrade. Perfect for use in the making of products that see a lot of use and handling, stainless steel water bottles, kitchen counters, straws, and even chopsticks have begun to grace the market.
When it comes to disposing of stainless steel, this material remains sustainable. More than 80% of stainless steel items are recycled at the end of their lives, and since they can be reused indefinitely, these products become the raw materials for new ones. Only around 9% of plastic items are ever recycled, making stainless steel the clear winner in this category. Should a stainless steel item find its way to a landfill, no need to worry; stainless steel will never release toxins into the soil or water, and poses no threat to the environment or to animals living in the area.
Eco-Friendly Stainless Steel Products
At Wowe Lifestyle, we have been combatting plastic for years by avoiding it like the plague. Never packaging in any kind of plastic and never including plastics in our products, Wowe has dedicated time to finding, creating, and sharing some of the best plastic alternatives currently on the market. You see, Wowe is dedicated to finding simple solutions to complex problems and helping our customers make green living more accessible.
Though we sell many eco-friendly products that are designed to make everyday life a little greener, here we want to focus on some of our most popular stainless steel items. All made from FDA approved stainless steel that will never rust, tarnish, or release toxins, each of these items from our line of eco-friendly lifestyle products will make you never want to go back to plastic ever again.
No, our dental floss isn’t made from stainless steel, but the box is! Rather than buying nylon dental floss wrapped in a non-recyclable plastic box, pick up Wowe’s Natural Biodegradable Silk Dental Floss! Made from sustainably sourced silk, this dental floss does the job just as well as dental floss from the drugstore, but won’t leave you worried about your impact on the planet. Best of all, our dental floss comes with a stainless steel cutting box to help keep your floss clean and to help you cut strands whenever needed. Refillable, this stainless steel box could be your dental floss container for the rest of your life with proper care.
Popularized for their breath freshening abilities, plastic tongue cleaners can commonly be found in drug stores and online. Though they may help you to avoid garlic breath, these plastic versions are typically packaged in plastic, made from plastic, and completely non-recyclable. If you love cleaning your tongue but want a more environmentally sound option for doing so, check out our Stainless Steel Metal Tongue Cleaner. Long-lasting and made from high-quality stainless steel, keep this tongue cleaner clean and it could be freshening your breath for decades to come.
Plastic straws have seen a lot of media attention as of late, receiving criticism for frequently turning up in the stomachs of marine animals, stuck in crevices and orifices of ocean animals, and floating freely through lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water. Non-recyclable and single-use, plastic straws are probably the plastic product currently under the most scrutiny.
Though plastic straws are obviously putting a strain on the environment, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite way to drink your coffee. Pick up a set of Stainless Steel Straws from Wowe Lifestyle and you’ll be set for life. We offer curved straws, straight straws, and even travel straws so you never have to accept another plastic straw again.
Like straws, plastic water bottles have received a lot of criticism. A commonly littered item and one that is rarely recycled, single-use plastic water bottles aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re also bad for your health. Often containing BPA, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals, plastic water bottles are intended for single use only and may pose health risks if use is continued. Instead of spending the money on yet another plastic water bottle you can only use once, opt for a Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Wowe instead. Able to hold up to 25 oz and featuring a liquid-tight bamboo lid, you’ll never want to leave the house again without your trusty stainless steel water bottle.
Ready to make the switch? Visit Wowe Lifestyle today and browse our full selection of eco-friendly lifestyle products to find the one that is right for you.