Reasons to Stop Using Black Plastic Right Now

Learn why scientists at the University of Plymouth in the UK have sounded the alarm on black plastic.

Reasons to Stop Using Black Plastic Right Now

Black Mirror is a sci-fi series that looks at the unexpected consequences of new technologies and contemporary behavior—and paints a dystopian portrait of the near future that would give Rod Serling nightmares!

But that’s nothing compared to the unexpected consequences of using recycled black plastic for food packaging and utensils. A study in Environment International found that toxins such as bromine and lead showed up in some of 600 black plastic consumer products they tested, including cocktail stirrers and children's toys.

Because black plastic looks cool, folks like it. And black plastic is difficult to recycle, manufacturers have to rely on “the plastic housings of end-of-life waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE). Inefficiently sorted WEEE plastic has the potential to introduce restricted and hazardous substances into the recycled black plastic, including brominated flame retardants (BFRs), a flame-retardant synergist (SB) and the heavy metals, cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead.” They cause everything from reproductive and thyroid problems to neurotoxicity, mental retardation, kidney, bone and lung disease.

Scientists at the University of Plymouth in the UK have sounded the alarm, giving folks the opportunity to mount a campaign that will stop the use of black plastic altogether: Don’t buy black plastic bags, and refuse to order takeout from places that serve their food in black plastic. Just say no, loudly and consistently. Then you’ll be looking at a healthier person in the mirror.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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