I often wonder what it would be like if I eliminated all plastic in my life; probably very challenging. Think about it, plastic is everywhere; lining our cans, bottles that we drink from, bags and containers where we store our food, most cosmetic containers including shampoos and creams-plastic is everywhere. And yet most plastic is quite toxic.
I try and live a non toxic life and yet when I think about it, when I look around my house, there is plastic everywhere. We/I buy organic foods that is in cans lined with toxic plastic or we store our high quality food in plastic containers. We buy pure, spring water from Fiji or Italy that is stored in a plastic bottle. Really? It does not make any sense.
But this is the world that we live in today and unless you are seriously committed to getting the plastic out of your life the least we can do is consider limiting our toxic exposure. Here are some tips on how I have done this in my life.
As an aside, I was also thinking too that it would be so wonderful if one day a large influential company like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s would step up and really own that they are supporting health and not just consumerism and just said no to plastic. If anyone out there wants to start a movement, I am in! After you read this, let me know…
1. Avoid the worst common plastics
Identify the type of plastic of a product by looking at the recycling symbol molded on the item. This is a number from 1 to 7 surrounded by three chasing arrows forming a triangle. The three following plastics are common and are significantly harmful. I suggest you start by just avoiding these 3 as much as you can.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3): A very toxic plastic that often containing multiple unsafe additives, including lead and phthalates. Still used for some toys, clear food and non-food packaging (e.g., cling wrap), some squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars.
Polystyrene (PS #6): Contains styrene, which is toxic to the brain, nervous system, and various organs. Used in Styrofoam containers, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, take-out food containers and most plastic cutlery.
Polycarbonate (Other #7): #7 is actually a catch-all category including any plastic resin that does not come within the first six categories. Typically it contains BPA, which has been linked to numerous health problems. Used in some baby bottles (though increasingly banned in baby bottles by countries around the world), clear plastic “sippy” cups, sports water bottles, juice and ketchup containers, and in three and five gallon large water storage containers, and most metal food can liners.
Would you like to learn more about the different plastic types? Take a look at our sections on Common Plastics #1 to #7 and Other Plastic Types.
2. Refuse plastic bags and bring your own reusable bags wherever you go
3. Avoid bottled water and bring your own reusable water bottle or mug with you when you go out
4. When buying canned goods make sure that they are labelled BPA free
5. Use non-plastic containers for food
To your health!
Happy Friday Everyone