“You may as well go and rub gravel or crushed PP Bottle on your face,” one r/SkincareAddiction user wrote.The changes have happened so gradually that most consumers haven’t even noticed, but a tremendous amount of plastics have crept onto supermarket shelves. Shoppers are tossing a lot of plastic packages into their carts that didn’t exist when they were kids.

Cucumbers sleeved in polyethylene film are now ubiquitous in the produce department, as are sliced fruits in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers and chopped, ready-to-eat salads in polypropylene bags. People don’t have to make their own guacamole or hummus anymore—it comes already prepared in convenient polypropylene tubs.Cans and tubes are commonly made of metals such as aluminum or tin.

Aluminum protects against germs and is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Most collapsible tubes are made of aluminum, while tin and lead also make up significant percentages in cosmetic packaging.Metals work as unbreakable packaging for the strongest possible protection of products. They can also protect products by guarding against moisture or high temperature. For companies trying to convey an environmentally-friendly image, metals are highly recyclable. Another key advantage is that metals can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes to avoid waste.

“If you talk to someone whose expertise is designing corrugated containers, they might not understand why we use more than one plastic to make a package.”The steaks that consumers buy in the supermarket are usually packaged by the store’s own meat department in polystyrene foam trays and a film such as polyvinyl chloride. Distributed this way, FPA says, steaks generally last four days. If the meat is processed centrally and vacuum-packed in a multilayer film that includes an EVOH barrier, it can last for nearly a month.