So Monday, April 22nd was Earth day! I know because some people posted about it on facebook and thats about it. The earth is pretty cool – its massive, it gives us a home, and there’s so much to see. I am a little bit of a hippie in that I like to think about how we impact the world around us and I really like the idea of leaving a minimal trace on the earth for future generations.
So first let’s relate it to your health. The main concern when using plastic containers is that it can mimic human hormones and disrupt your hormones in your body. Also, most plastic products release estrogen chemicals which can have the same affect. Now we aren’t going to remove plastic from everywhere and that is a real problem we are trying to fix. We currently grow, store, and cook food in plastic – but we’ll leave that one to the scientists to solve. Instead, here are 3 things you can do to lower your contact with plastic right now (and keep those hormones healthy).
- Buy a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle. Every single container leaches to some degree but these two types of water bottles are the safest. It also cuts down on using plastic water bottles and saves you money in the long run! This is the first thing to do as your water sits in the container all day and can go through multiple temperature changes. Plus the steel water bottle will keep your water cold!
- Buy glass tupperware. The next spot is your food storage. Glass tupperware comes in handy because you can store food in there for a few days and know the food isn’t in contact with plastic. Also, most of us microwave our lunch at work. When you heat up certain plastics, the estrogen property is increased – so using glass tupperware is especially important if you are heating up your lunch each day. Also, the glass will last forever (unless you drop it).
- Don’t use the plastic produce bags. Dana thinks I am a weirdo for this one but I refuse to use the plastic produce bags at the grocery store. This one is as much about using a plastic product just to get my groceries from the store to home. I simply put the produce in my cart and then put it right on the conveyor belt to check out (it’s getting cleaned before I use it anyway). However, a lot of people will put their produce in a plastic bag and store it in the bag at home which is the same as the tupperware issue – you are increasing your food’s contact with the plastic. You also can get reusable produce bags to use at the stores.
These are 3 things I do to limit my plastic use and I do it because I believe the plastic can have a negative affect on our health. Now some people may bring up that my whey protein comes in a plastic bottle, my meat comes wrapped in plastic, and a lot of other foods use plastic packaging! You are completely right. I wish I could eliminate plastic as packaging but until then I am going to avoid what I can – especially in cases where the plastic is being heated.
Now on to the throw away mentality. One thing that has been interesting to watch is how other countries have been more progressive in limiting their use of one-time use plastics. There are whole countries where things like plastic utensils and straws are banned from use. In fact the EU has a ban set to go in place on these things in 2021. While it seems like the USA as a whole is slower to adapt any ban – I do try to think about how I can limit my use. I would like to challenge everyone to take a look at the things they use once and throw away and see if there is one spot you can make a small change. I really do believe it is going to take small changes to get the movement going.
The two main areas I looked at for myself was picking up food at fast casual restaurants (by bringing my own reusable utensils) and not using plastic produce bags. I will be the first to admit that I am not perfect – I have reusable utensils I carry around, but I often get caught grabbing food without them and I have produce bags my sister got me for my birthday but I often find myself at the grocery store without them too. But I think its a small thing I can do to try to start limiting our use of plastic. I also don’t use straws at the restaurant but that is usually a losing as battle as the drink normally comes with the straw already in it (and I am not quite ready to be that guy that asks for a water with no straw).
Maybe you need the convenience or value the ease of these things more highly than me and that’s cool too. However, limiting our contact with plastic is good for your health and I think limited our plastic waste is good for everyone long term!