5 Easy and Inexpensive Ways To Reduce Plastic
Chemicals in plastic are harming our health and the environment because of chemicals in the plastic and the manufacturing process.
There was a time when I couldn’t image my life without plastic. That’s before I knew how truly harmful it is AND how easy it is to use less plastic.
I do think eliminating all plastic is a pretty big feat. In my home, I’m focusing on getting rid of a couple pieces here and there.
I have found some amazing books if you’re interested in learning more about totally eliminating plastic and reducing the amount of trash coming out of your home. There’s ‘Zero Waste Home’ or ‘Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too’.
As with any type of change or transformation, take it one baby step at a time. This will make it easier to create a lasting change without getting overwhelmed.
BPA free is safe right? Wrong.
Let’s start with BPA. Avoiding BPA has become trendy - and for good reason! It’s pretty well known the chemical BPA (bisphenol A) is dangerous to our health. Here’s a bit about how dangerous it is:
“Even low doses during early development alter the reproductive hormone cycles in males and females. Specifically, females have earlier puberty, increased mammary (breast) development, prolonged estrous cycles (the equivalent of menstrual cycles), chromosomal abnormalities in their eggs, and other fertility problems. Males have decreased testosterone levels, fewer and less motile sperm, more abnormal sperm, increased prostate size, and changes reflecting a heightened risk for prostate cancer. In some studies, both males and females tend to weigh more and have more body fat. Exposure during fetal development can alter brain structure and function, and lead to subsequent behavioral changes, such as increased aggressiveness, impaired motor activity, anxious behavior, and impaired learning.” (source)
What isn’t as well known is that manufacturers have replaced BPA with chemicals in the same family, such as BPS and/or BPF.
These chemicals were not tested before being included in common plastic items; however, first studies are showing that they’re up to 200 times worse than BPA.
Environmental Science and Technology reports that BPS is of “comparable toxicity” to BPA. BPS is also “less biodegradable” than BPA which means that BPS will linger in our system and the environment longer (source).
According to Dr. Mercola, “BPA is not the only culprit; it's simply the most highly publicized one. There's also Bisphenol AB and AF, Bisphenol B and BP, Bisphenol C, Bisphenol E, F, G, M, S, P, PH, TMC and, yes, there's even a Bisphenol Z. Any one of these can be in your BPA-free baby bottle or sippy cup, unfortunately.” (source)
But wait there are more chemicals in plastic
I wish I didn’t have more bad news to tell you, but this is some incredibly important stuff to know!
So while chemicals in the bisphenol family are very concerning, keep reading to learn more about the toxins that are hiding in your plastic items and the effects they can have on your health.
Per this article, “several thousand different additives are used in the plastic production. Brominated flame retardants, phthalates and lead compounds used as heat stabilizers are considered the most hazardous additive types.”
Phthalates are used to soften plastics. Think of items such as shower curtains, plastic bags, some food packaging as the thin soft plastics that can contain phthalates.
It’s becoming well known that we need to avoid phthalates in our personal care products; however, most of us aren’t aware that phthalates are in common plastic items we’re using daily.
“Because phthalates aren’t tightly bound to plastics, they readily migrate into neighboring substances such as food, water, air, and saliva. Phthalates are thus present in our urine, blood, breast milk, saliva, amniotic fluid, and seminal fluid. The biggest health concern is reproductive toxicity — particularly for males. Numerous animal studies link phthalate exposure during fetal development with malformations of parts of the male reproductive system.” (source)
Or this article that highlights “The vast dump of plastic waste swirling in the Pacific ocean is now bigger than France, Germany and Spain combined”.
These are just three out of hundreds of articles highlighting the damaging effects plastics have on the environment.
How to reduce your plastic use
So what are we to do?! This is one of the many questions I asked myself when I realized just how much plastic is in my home.
The answer is that we eliminate as much plastic as we possibly can!
I believe it’s near impossible to eliminate all plastic usage because plastic is EVERYWHERE!
However, there are some very easy and inexpensive ways to begin to reduce plastic in your home.
The kitchen is one area where we tend to have quite a bit of plastic.
In the video below, I share 5 swaps we’ve made to begin to get plastics out.
Here is a short summary of the video:
In realizing how toxic ALL plastics are, these are 5 items we’ve replaced in our kitchen:
We once used plastic cups (BPA free) but have since switched to glasses and stainless steel drink containers, like these.
I used to come home from the grocery store with anywhere from 5-10 plastic produce bags filled with fresh produce. We now use reusable produce bags like these.
Put those reusable produce bags in your reusable grocery bags. You can find reusable bags at your grocery store or get them here. You can also get a set of reusable produce bags plus grocery bags like this one.
Straws have been gaining a major bad rap in media due to how much straw pollution we see. Articles, such as this one, show how damaging straws (and other plastics) can be to our environment. We’ve exchanged plastic straws for stainless steel straws like these. Stainless steel straws can conduct heat and cold. Silicone straws are another option.
Eliminating plastic food storage containers you use should be a top priority. The fact that all plastics leach chemicals into food is widely recognized. The easy switch is to use glass containers like these. These Pyrex containers are my favorite because they also have a glass lid.
To wrap up
I know that eliminating plastic from your home can seem like a daunting task. Just remember that every single piece you get rid of and replace with stainless steel, glass, or silicone will help your health and the environment!
Have you started to reduce your plastic use? Let me know how in the comments.
Peace and wellness -
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Hi! I'm Bri....the wife, mom, RN, and Certified Health Coach behind HippieDippieMom. Read more about me here.
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