We live in a world of plastic pollution, overflowing plastic that can take over six hundred years to break down. Finally we are beginning to realize our world is polluted with plastic waste. It is everywhere and dramatic images are emerging of its impact on our oceans and aquatic creatures.
The endocrine disrupting BPA or bisphenol A is found in the plastics we use each day and leaches from these items at room temperatures and above. BPA enters our soil and groundwater through landfill and the more plastic breaks down the more BPA is released.
One issue with BPA is it does not leave our body easily and as an Endocrine Disruptor it mimics hormones and binds to hormone receptors. This binding to estrogen receptors is related to the development of estrogen sensitive breast cancer.
My personal interest in eliminating plastics started ten years ago after a third breast cancer when in my quest to eliminate endocrine disrupting chemicals from my life I began eliminating plastics.
The disruption of our hormonal systems by Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals is also linked to other health issues including testosterone processing, early menopause, cholesterol, obesity, onset of puberty, immune function, bone health and cardiac function and mental states.
Clearly an excess of plastic in our daily lives and environment is not good and unless each of us does our part the problem will only get worse.
Here are some ways I personally use to avoid plastics in my daily life. I hope these ways will also be useful to you.
1. PLASTIC BAG BAN
Love what is happening with taking your own bags to supermarkets. Yes they are banning the plastic shopping bags at my local supermarkets.
I personally find it a an exciting challenge and keep my own shopping bag in the boot of my car. Even if I forget to take it into the store I can bring things back in the trolley provided and put them into my bag when I get back to the car.
What a blessing for our planet without all those endless throwaway bags.
2. GLASS CONTAINERS
Wherever possible I use glass. I refuse to buy items unless they come in glass. I search out glass containers in supermarkets. If everyone did this supermarkets would soon have to reduce items they sell which come in plastic containers.
I find items packaged in glass are not more expensive but do tend to be made from companies with ethical concerns and these I do want to support. How can you produce a theoretically healthy food product and then package it in cheap plastic that leaches BPA. The two concepts are not compatible.
I always recycle my glass containers or use them for storage. I remember as a child searching the sand hills near my home to find glass bottles. We were paid for returns and this money was much valued.
3. BROWN PAPER BAGS
Fresh food items in supermarkets are an unending source of plastic wraps and containers. The logic of buying fresh healthy produce tightly packaged in BPA excreting plastics is far beyond me. However my personal motivation to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals needed a solution and I found it beside the loose white mushrooms, the pile of brown paper bags for mushroom packaging. Armed with a small collection of these I only buy loose produce and put them into these brown paper bags, problem solved.
The brown paper bags can be recycled and used for a multitude of purposes including packing lunches. Who needs a plastic lunchbox when you have a brown paper bag. Which brings me to wax paper.
4. WAX PAPER
I needed a rice cooker but did not fancy the idea of BPA wih the steamed rice. Then I discovered clay rice cookers.
Not expensive they do all the things a plastic rice cooker can do except add endocrine disrupting chemicals.
6. REFILLABLE WATER BOTTLES
7. NO PLASTIC KITCHEN UTENSILS
I don't know about you but when I watch a cooking show and see someone using a plastic spoon I feel like screaming wooden spoon, wooden spoon. How do people in such public roles not know the advantage of wooden or metal utensils over plastic. This plastic issue is everywhere. Recently I needed to purchase a steamer, an indignant store attendant told me they only stocked plastic steamers and said she was unaware of any others. I gave her a short explanation of why I would not use such a steamer. I do hope she is now stocking other options.
Heat, cooking and plastic do not mix. Sometimes it feels almost impossible to avoid food and BPA exposures in our current environment. But let's change that, it has to change, we can create a healthier world.
8. METAL OR GLASS JUGS
It can be hard work to find the right jug or kettle but they are out there and the more people demand them the more the manufacturers will need to change their products.
9. A PERSONAL MUG
A new trend emerging in inner city coffee bars is the buyer bringing their own personal mug.
What a great concept to avoid those take away plastic lined takeaway cups, another landfill curse.
I was recently at an event where ceramic cups were available but rather than load the dishwasher takeaway cups were being used. Yes I did have my say and my cuppa was served in a ceramic cup. It really takes effort to get this planet to change.
10. PAPER STRAWS
Yes another goodie. Plastic straws are being fazed out and paper straws are back. So pleased about this one. Too many marine species have been damaged and hurt by these straws polluting our waterways. So good to be using straws that break down to compost.
I do hope these ten ideas are a starting point for you to stop the use of plastic and endocrine chemical in your life.
I know there are a lot of other creative ideas out there to help save our planet and eliminate plastic usage.
If you have any of these ideas please share them in the comments. Lets work together to start creating a renewed and healthy planet.