Let’s face it. Plastic is convenient. Especially when it comes to the packaging and storage of food. But research suggests that chemicals in combination with food or water can be hazardous to our health. We’re even creating our fossils with our heavy use of plastics – called plastiglomerate! (Read more in this NY Times article Future Fossils: Plastic Stones.)
What can we do in the meantime?
Five Ways to Reduce Plastic
1. Heat food in glass containers.
Heat is one of the most significant ways harmful chemicals leach into your food. Even if your food has been frozen in plastic, transfer to a glass container before heating.
2. Pack food in parchment paper.
It’s hard to pass up the convenience of disposable plastic storage bags. Thankfully there are companies such as If You Care that offer a parchment paper option. These may be a bit more costly in the short run, but they offer a much safer option. If you must use plastic bags, consider lining them with parchment paper before storing your food.
3. Use stainless steel or glass water bottles.
It takes anywhere from 400–1,000 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose. You can help the environment as well as protect your health by switching to reusable water bottles. Try carrying a cobalt blue glass bottle when you’re on the road and make your fresh water using filtered water. No worries about heat and plastic with glass bottles! (See How to Make Solar Water.)
4. Avoid receipts.
Bisphenol A (BPA) a chemical commonly used in plastics exhibits hormone-like qualities and has been linked with hormone disruption in humans. Many sales receipts are coated with a layer of BPA. If you don’t need the receipt, let the cashier know. If you do need it, keep it in the bag until you get home (unless the receipt is exposed to raw food). Keep your receipts in a closed container such as a paper envelope.
5. Think outside the box.
Don’t assume the status quo is the only way to live. Begin to think differently about the way you eat and live. Consider ways to bring fresh foods with you in non-plastic containers when you’re on the go. Try your hand at food fermentation, or check out a local farmers market (don’t forget your reusable grocery bag!).
Never underestimate the value of small changes.
The following websites offer more suggestions for reducing your use of plastics:
What changes have you implemented to cut back on plastic?