Ways To Reduce Plastic Usage
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It's pretty well known by now that plastic is bad for the environment, but are we aware of the affects plastic has on our bodies? Plastic is being found to lead to create direct toxicity, carcinogens, endocrine disruption which then can lead to damaging health issues such as cancer and birth defects.
BPA is one of the most commonly known chemicals in plastic which is why you see most plastic saying "BPA-free", which is great. But it's just BPA free, not free of all the other toxins that are harming us. We can't assume something is safe simply because it is free of one thing. This is a list of some of the toxins found in our plastic, common places they are found, and their many, many, adverse health affects (Ecology Center):
Remember back to elementary school when they taught about recycling? Those little numbers on the bottom of plastic mean more than just if they are recyclable or not- they let us know what toxins the plastic is made out of.
#1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
#2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
#3: Polyvinyl Chloride
#4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
#5: Polypropylene (PP)
#6: Polystyrene (PS)
Now, I know these names might be hard to remember, so I've renamed them for you to help you remember them:
That's a big easier, right? Although all plastic should be avoided as much as possible, numbers 3, 6, and most importantly 7, should be avoided at all costs. #7 plastic is essentially a combination of multiple chemicals. 95% of all plastic tested comes up positive for estrogenic activity, meaning they are hormone disruptors. Endocrine disruption is the cause many of today's common health problems like cancer, thyroid problems, diabetes, obesity, hormone imbalances, etc.
The good news is, people are realizing that plastic is harming our environment and our bodies. I think there's going to be a huge breakthrough about plastic soon. In the meantime, there are small things we can do to avoid plastic in our daily lives.
Glass Jars and Containers
When I am taking a lunch on the go, instead of using plastic bags I try my best to use Mason Jars and Pyrex instead. I'll put my snackies like fruit and nuts in a mason jar and things like salads in a pyrex bowl, this way my food is not soaking up any chemicals while sitting in plastic, and I don't have to throw anything away. I just wash them and reuse! This also goes for storing food at home in the pantry or fridge. Don't get me wrong, my family doesn't not purchase something just because it comes in plastic. It is difficult to purchase everything in bulk and we are definitely not close to zero waste at all, but we do what we can to use less plastic and keep our food away from it. I like to transfer things like beans, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, anything else that is bought in a plastic bag or container, into mason jars when we get home from the store. Purchasing milk and other drinks in cartons or glass bottles is also the better option, when possible.
Glass Water Bottles
I never ever drink out of plastic water bottles. I take this glass water bottle with me wherever I go, even restaurants! Not only is this helping the environment, but it's also helping my health. The plastic used in water bottles is hazardous to our health and the water sits in those bottles for longer than we can imagine, soaking up every single chemical that the plastic releases. This process intensifies when the water bottles sit in places like a hot car in the summer. That water is then turned into a drinkable carcinogen- something I prefer to keep out of my body. I have a post in the works about water safety and the importance of quality drinking water- so be on the lookout for that!
Plastic wrap contains the chemical Polyvinylchloride (in the chart above) which has been found to cause cancer, birth defects, and much more. When food is wrapped in plastic wrap, those chemicals are transferred to the food.
Bee's Wrap is a great alternative to plastic wrap. Bee's Wrap is used just like plastic wrap, but is made out of sustainably sourced beeswax, organic cotton, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. The best part is Bee's Wrap is reusable, biodegradable and compostable. No chemicals here!
Silicone Ice Cube Trays
We just recently made the switch to Silicone Ice Cube Trays instead of plastic. We had our ice cube trays for so long, I didn't even want to know what type of plastic was disintegrating into our water. We made the switch to silicone ice cube trays which are a lot safer than plastic. Unlike plastic, silicone does not "leach" into products. Meaning it does not release anything into the liquid it is holding.
Stainless Steel Straws
Instead of plastic straws that sit in my drinks for hours on end releasing who-knows-what chemicals, I have made the switch to Stainless Steel Straws. All the cool coffee bloggers have them, so I feel really trendy when I use them.
Glass Spray Bottles
Spray bottles are necessary when you're a plant lady like me. But I didn't like the idea of keeping water sitting around in plastic for weeks on end and then spraying my plant babies with it-especially the plants that we eat. So I invested in some Amber Glass Spray Bottles. I will also be using these to store citrus infused vinegar for cleaning because citrus eats away at plastic.
Plastic is destroying our earth that God so lovingly created for us to thrive upon. Plastic is infecting our food, our land, our air, and our water. It is also destroying our bodies, our temples of the Holy Spirit. At this point we are eating, breathing, and drinking plastic and it's up to us to stop that.
Using less plastic is not an easy journey or an overnight switch. But there are simple things that can be done to get you started. I hope a few of these things that I have been implementing recently spark your interest and inspire you to make your own changes! I wish I could sit down with all of you and have a picnic where we bring our food in glass jars and containers and talk more about chemicals, but until next time!