All right, I’ve dug in and done a little bit of research and here’s what I’ve come up with on the issue of returning #7 plastics for a full refund– it really is true! Large chain stores all over North America are actually doing this, as concerned parents bring in their baby bottles, sippy cups, and other child feeding products, that contain harmful BPA toxins. I’m so encouraged to see the recognition of this dangerous chemical, and such an effort to get it off the shelves and out of use for our babies and children’s sake.
Since I didn’t fully explain it in my last post, I’ll just briefly give you a run down on why on earth you might consider returning these items (or at least, discontinuing their use). Are they being recalled? No. However, much information has come out in the last little while on the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), indicating that it leaches from hard plastic items (such as children’s sippy cups and Nalgene water bottles, as well as plastic linings in canned foods), particularly when the plastic is heated, such as in the dishwasher, or when a cup is left in hot car, etc.
In a very small nutshell, BPA is a concern because it mimics the hormone estrogen and is considered to be a hormone disrupter. Studies are suggesting that it may play a role in health problems such as cancer, infertility, or even hyperactivity in children. It is particularly damaging to babies in the womb, and to infants and children, whose immature systems are particularly susceptible to damage.
Here are a few links that will give you some more information on BPA:
Bisphenol A: Toxic Plastics Chemical in Canned Food: Consumer tips to avoid BPAexposure
And tips on avoiding them:
Buying Guide: Plastic Containers
Buying Guide: Baby Bottles
And a few links to safer products:
Now back to the issue at hand… can you really return your plastic cups, bottles, etc. for a full refund? The answer is yes, in most stores (so far I’ve heard of Walmart, London Drugs, Zellers, Superstore/Loblaws). I attempted to call this afternoon, but wasn’t able to get through and talk with a real person at Superstore.
If you look on the bottom of the item, and see this symbol, then it may be brought back to the store where it was purchased:
Now, it seems as though most stores will take them even without a receipt, although a few people have had issues with employees not looking through the list of all of the acceptable items, or being able to find the SKU # of the particular item you are bringing back. Here is a link to a post (thanks Tara!) on this very topic, and the most interesting part is reading through the comments below (beware– they get a bit catty towards the end).
One concern that a few of the commenters had which I would also be concerned about it people taking advantage of stores by searching for old items, not even being used anymore, or that they can’t remember where they were purchased from, and taking them back anyways, just for the cash. My feeling is that this is an opportunity to take those items you are currently using, and put the refund towards safer, replacement items, and buy them from the store granting the refund, if at all possible. It is so excellent that these stores are taking such a positive step, and I think it’s important that we treat them fairly and respectfully in the matter.
The issue was also brought up yesterday of whether we should even consider returning them at all, as the responsibility may simply be on us, the consumers, who willingly purchased the item, and that although the stores are offering the possibility of return, perhaps we shouldn’t necessarily take them up on it (such a paraphrase, Pieces- I hope it summarizes the outworkings of your comment yesterday).
Does anyone else have any other information about returning items? Has anyone done this successfully, and if so, where? What have you purchased to replace your old items? And what do you think about the moral issue of returning the items– is it our own financial responsibility, or the stores/manufacturer’s to refund/replace these items?