Thursday, April 7, 2011

My problem with plastic.

We have a lot of friends and family that think I'm a little crazy when it comes to plastic.  Granted, they think I'm more than a little crazy on a lot of things, but that's what you get when you're that mom.  But recently, I've come across with a number of good resources on plastics so I wanted to share them here and tell you a little bit about our journey to reduce plastics in our life.

First, watch this.


Bag It Intro from Suzan Beraza on Vimeo.
 

Plastic is bad for the environment both because of the chemicals it releases and the fact that it fills not only landfills but the ocean.  Marine animals are swallowing so much plastic this turtle pooped plastic for a month.  It's also really bad for our health. A chemical called BPA has recently received a lot of attention as far as its possible effects on our health.  BPA is also found in canned goods.  But, it's not just about BPA.   

Even BPA-free plastics are still leaching chemicals.

These chemicals mimic estrogenic behavior in our body creating extremely high levels of estrogen in our bodies or, in contrast, low-estrogen that still tests high because these fake estrogens take the place of real estrogen in our body causing our body to produce less estrogen overall.


So what is my family doing about it?

We are limiting the plastic that enters our home. When we buy something new whether it be a toy, food, a household item, or just about anything we consider whether we need it (reduce), whether there is a plastic alternative (if the item is made out of plastic), and whether there is an alternative with less or plastic-free packaging.


If a food item is sold in plastic and in glass, I will pay slightly more for the glass item. We don't buy individually packaged snacks or food items except for the occasional granola bar for when we don't have our own made. We try to buy in bulk. If a toy our child would really like is available in wood, we'll pay extra money for that item.  This goes with our less is more perspective on toys and gifts.

We love our bamboo ware.

We don't use plastic food storage bags, but reusable cloth alternatives.  I plan purchasing glass straws when our package of straws is used up. We don't use plastic utensils when we picnic but instead bamboo to-go ware or just plain old silverware.  We use stainless steel water bottles instead of plastic reusable ones.

I plan to get a few of these to round out our water bottle collection for spring adventures!

We are purging the plastic already in our home, in baby steps. We save all glass food jars and reuse them along with mason jars we've purchased for leftovers and food storage enabling us to get rid of our plastic food containers. We use reusable grocery bags and are using the remaining plastic bags we have for trash and other things.  When our plastic grocery bag stash is gone, we are committed to figuring out alternatives for the areas we currently use those bags.  We are switching to durable glass dishes and glasses for our kids.

We are not a plastic-free household. In fact, we are far from it. But we are becoming increasingly aware and continue to be surprised the places where we use plastic. Sometimes we have to think for a bit until we come up with an alternative but we are purchasing and purging creatively and carefully.  Most recently, I wondered about the number of large plastic storage bins we use for clothing, seasonal decorations, and more in our basement. Is there an alternative? Does it make sense to just go back to cardboard boxes? But those aren't nearly as protective. Maybe we just need less stuff to have to store.  I don't know.  The answers are probably different for everyone.

Do you strive to use less plastic? What solutions have you discovered?  Is there somewhere you're struggling to find an alternative?  Where do you miss it?  Where do you not miss it at all?

1 comment:

  1. I'm not going back to cardboard either but I have 2 huge metal boxes in the attic (like these: http://tinyurl.com/3tb9257) and we also use a wood chest to store clothe and linen. I've also heard of people using old suitcase for storage (are they non-plastic?). It might be an option to consider when your plastic boxes break.

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