In the midst of the flurry of spring cleaning that’s happening around the blogosphere right now,this article from The Green Guide seemed particularly relevant. While you’re tackling the kitchen, you may just get motivated to
chuck out recycle a whole lot of the plastics that may be bringing some less-than-desirable visitors into your home and bodies. This excerpt from the article explains:
While plastic food wraps and containers play an important role in
protecting us against the dangers of foodborne illnesses, recent studies
show that when certain plastics come into contact with foods, some
questionable chemicals migrate from the packaging to the foods they
contain. In addition, because of the chemicals used during the
manufacturing process, plastic poses threats to our environment and to
the health of the workers who produce it.
What I appreciate about this article is it’s practicality. It doesn’t just give you the story and stop there. It lists in detail the different plastic numbers (you know, the little number from 1-7 imprinted inside a recycle circle on the bottom of the product). It lists products containing safer plastics than other products. It tells you which items in your kitchen and home are more likely to be made of dangerous plastics. It even gives you tips for using them safely.
Here are a few steps I’ve taken to reduce our use of unsafe plastics:
*Got rid of our Nalgene bottles
*Stopped buying cling wrap (saran wrap, same thing)
*Am trying to discipline myself not to refill plastic water bottles (a really bad habit I’ve developed lately, out of desperation for a way to get enough water for nursing when we’re out), which should be one-use-only bottles, as they leach more chemicals when being re-used, and especially when left in heat (ie. a hot car). Since I haven’t had the money to spend on these gorgeous and safe water bottles yet (although I’m on the lookout for a great deal, so let me know if you’ve seen one!), I try use my stainless steel coffee travel mugs instead.
*Searched through all of my kids plastic cups, bowls, etc. to see if there were any particularly dangerous plastics lurking among them (there were just a couple items, not too many). At Christmas time I purchased a pack of small, glass Pyrex bowls (meant for custard, I think), which are perfect for soup or oatmeal for my daughter, and although a bit big, work quite well for my son’s baby food as well. Next on my list are stainless steel dessert spoons to use as baby spoons, and to replace the kids plastic cups with real, child sized glasses.
*Threw out our microwave (aside from the overall health concerns, it is also a very bad idea to put plastics in the microwave) , and now use only our toaster oven and the stove top for reheating leftovers. If I need to thaw meat, I try to remember to take it out early and/or let it sit in a sink of cold water (to do this safely you need to make sure that the water stays cool, and that you don’t leave it for long enough to warm up and allow bacteria to flourish).
*Allow leftovers to cool as much as possible before putting them in Tupperware-style containers for the fridge.
*Have plans to scour garage sales this summer for glass Pyrex containers with the plastic lids (like tupperware, but the actual container is glass, not plastic, and it’s clear so nothing can hide in the fridge!)
Are you concerned about the plastics you’re using in your kitchen and for eating and drinking? Have you taken any steps to get rid of dangerous items in your home? What types of alternatives are you using for these common items?