Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Top 7 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Use Exposure


Plastic is everywhere. In many ways, we do indeed live in a plastic age. The problem is that plastic harms the environment and human health. Plastic, for example, has been dumped in our oceans on a truly epic scale and has made its way into the food chain. Ocean waves and currents work to break down plastic into tiny particles and those particles are ingested by wildlife. Additionally, plastic is ubiquitous at landfills. Few seem to have a coherent plan for what to do with the ever increasing mountains of plastic waste.


Plastic is made from petroleum and as a result it can harm human health. Some types of plastic contain harmful chemicals such as BPA, which has been shown to disrupt hormones and is particularly harmful for children. The negative impact of plastics on human health and the environment are considerable.


There are alternatives such as corn based products on the horizon but the widespread adoption of these products is years if not decades away. For now the most prudent move is to discover ways to reduce plastic exposure in your own life. In this article we will look at 7 of the best ways to reduce both your plastic use and your plastic exposure.


Step One-Glass Is Your Friend


Many of the jobs that plastic currently performs were once or can be performed by glass options. Plastic water bottle leach chemicals into the water they contain, but glass bottles do not have that problem. The first step in reducing your plastic exposure is to list out the products you use that have plastic in them. Next, look for glass alternatives. You may be surprised at just how much of your plastic exposure can be reduced by following this straightforward and easy to implement tip.


Step Two-Use Alternatives to Plastic Bags


Plastic bags truly are an environmental nightmare. Sure, the petroleum industry loves them, but they are bad news for the rest of us. Plastic bags don’t degrade, harm the planet, harm wildlife and contain harmful chemicals.


Use cloth bags whenever possible for your groceries. But remember to wash them, as unwashed cloth bags can be a breeding ground for germs. You can just dry them off quickly on your clotheslines! Paper bags are an excellent option as well especially if you bring your own to the grocery store.


Step Three-Avoid Plastic Wrap and Plastic Food Containers

Frozen Turkey Dinner - covered with plastic, condensation inside

Plastic wrap and plastic food containers obvious come into direct contact with your food. Often plastic wrap and plastic food containers come into direct contact with hot food, which only increases chemical leaching into your food.


Don’t use plastic wrap and plastic food containers. Instead opt for glass wear, as there are glass wear options that have rubber coating to prevent breaking. Plastic wrap and plastic food containers share much in common with plastic bags in that they do not biodegrade.


As stated above, glass is your friend. So opt for glass whenever possible. Also, in the long run, glass container options will be cheaper in the long run as compared to plastic food containers, which wear out over time. Finally there are plastic wrap alternatives that are made from safer materials and they work quite well.


Step Four-Find New Toy Options


Living in the plastic age it is easy to forget that there was a time before almost all toys were made out of plastic. Cheap toys are problematic on many levels. Plastic exposure is particularly dangerous for infants, toddlers and children due to their array of potentially harmful chemicals.


With a little research, you can find all kinds of toys that are made of wood or that use lower levels of plastic. Avoiding plastic toys may be next to impossible but by strategically selecting toys with lower plastic content, you can reduce your child’s exposure. In addition to plastic concerns, it is important to note that many cheap toys, particularly those manufactured in China, contain high levels of heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.


Step Five-Plastic Cups and Plates

glass cups

Plastic cups and plates are very sneaky. The simple fact is that plastic cups and plates have made their way into virtually every home. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce plastic exposure.


The answer? Simply switch over to glass plates and glass cups. Plastic cups can constantly leach their chemicals into your body. Switching to glass cups will eliminate this unnecessary exposure.


Step Six-Baby Bottles


The last thing any parent wants to do is expose an infant to plastics. There are tough glass baby bottles that have rubber coatings to protect them from being dropped. The dangers of a dropped baby bottle are likely far lower than what constant plastic exposure represents. If you are worried about baby bottles being dropped when you are in public, for example on concrete, then switch to BPA free baby bottles while outside the house. The problem with BPA free baby bottles is that these bottles are also testing positive for other potentially problematic chemicals as well. Glass bottles are safer.


Step Seven-Conduct a Household Evaluation


Investing the time to evaluate where plastic is used in your home will definitely reduce your exposure. If you are like most people you will discover that you are using more plastic than you have to use. There are alternatives if you give it a little thought and shop around.


Following these seven tips will not eliminate your family’s exposure to plastic; however, these tips will dramatically reduce your exposure. Plastic alternatives to exist and it is worth your time to discover those alternatives and incorporate them into your life.

Posted by September 11, 2015 at 3:45 PM under Environment Home Living Tips