As babies, many of us drank out of plastic bottles, sometimes even with a plastic bag inside, then we moved onto plastic sippy cups until our parents trusted us with glass. We ate our school lunches out of plastic containers and had many of our snacks in plastic sandwich baggies. Our toys were mostly plastic, as were our utensils and our plates. Plastic coffee makers, water bottles and coffee to-go mugs were also some of the few examples of plastic that our society used, and consumed! If you look in your pantry and fridge – mine included – you will probably see veggies in plastic containers or plastic wrap, condiments in plastic bottles, cans lined with plastic, cereal and dry pasta in plastic….it’s everywhere. I’m not here to make any of us feel like we need to turn our homes upside down and spend a bunch of money replacing everything, but I have a few ideas on how to find alternatives for some of it, and work towards avoiding some of the petro-based chemical that surround us!
Little did we know at the time that the BPA in the plastic was leaching into our food and by consuming it we were disrupting our endocrine systems and possibly contributing to cancers, infertility, diabetes and cardiovascular disease to name a few. BPA is also being linked to childhood behavioral problems – check out this study done by the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH). They concluded that there are associations between early life exposure to BPA and behavioral issues including hyperactivity, anxiety and depression. Society learned of the dangers of bisphenal A (BPA) even at low levels, and from that point on we continued doing what we were doing as consumers – only we now looked for the label “BPA Free”.
But when BPA was removed from much of our plastic, a lot of companies replaced it with BPS……which has now shown in a few studies that BPS is possibly having similar effects on the human body.
So what can we do to start moving towards plastic free households? Stick to stainless steel, glass and food grade silicone – in my opinion. Stoneware and other alternatives are out there as well.
If you’re looking for an alternative to plastic when it comes to what your kiddos are drinking out of, Pura Kiki makes an incredible option for babies, toddlers, kids and even adults. It’s definitely the best option that I’ve found, and it’s 100% free of any plastic. The bottle is made of stainless steel and the top is made of medical grade silicone. It also grows with your baby as it comes with a nipple top, sippy cup top or a top with a straw.
There are numerous glass and stainless steel options when it comes to making that pot of coffee in the morning. The good old classic french press is always a favorite – just be sure to check that all the parts that come in contact with the coffee aren’t plastic. I’m a little bit picky about plastic in general, but I’m very picky when it comes to pour boiling water into it. Le Creuset makes a beautiful french press as well that is made of stoneware and has a stainless steel plunger and mesh screen. There are also the new glass pour over options, such as this one, that are becoming increasing popular!
As for the plastic that much of our food comes in, try to find fresh vegetables that you can just set in your basket instead of bagging them. You are going to wash them once you get home anyways and this saves on plastic and garbage in our landfills! Frozen and canned beans and vegetables are handy to have on hand, but they are in plastic bags or plastic lined cans, so you can try to find these in the bulk section and take your own re-usable produce bags to fill. Again, this is a win-win for reducing waste and reducing plastic.
For food storage, there are many glass sets out there now that work great. I love the glass Pyrex bakeware and storage ones that can go in the oven and have lids to throw on afterwards for the leftovers. They are actually easier to use since you don’t need to dirty dishes for baking and then separate ones for storage.
I try to remember the saying, “everything in moderation”, so even though I’d like to keep my family away from plastic I aim for about 80% of the time and work towards more! Baby steps turn into big change over time. If you want to read a good book on how to make big change in your life without overwhelming yourself, Quantum Wellness, by Kathy Freston is a wonderful read and will point you in the right direction – no matter what direction that might be!