In a world where plastic is everywhere we look, in particularly in our kitchen and toy rooms, it can be overwhelming to go from plastic to non-plastic. And is it really worth it to get rid of the plastic? Are they truly actually dangerous?
Let’s look at the facts.
Plastic are forever. The majority of plastic does not decompose, it’s not biodegradable and it never goes away. Throw plastic into your garbage and it ends up in our landfills and will remain there forever. Many plastics also end up in our environment, killing animals and sea life each day. More than a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic, according to the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation. And while there’s the option to recycle, not enough is being recycled. For example, the USA has about a 35% recycling rate.
Plastic is dangerous for your health – both you and your children. Studies after studies have proven that plastics, both BPA (which acts like a hormone similar to estrogen) and even BPA-free plastics can leach toxins that are known to cause cancer, asthma, and other illnesses. A recent study found plastics that are commercially found, including baby bottles, toys and BPA-free plastics leached toxins that even low doses were enough to cause a negative effect on our health.
The production of plastic is a contributing cause to the rise in premature babies. The Environmental Working Group reported this summer that mothers ingest and pass to their unborn babies over 200 chemicals known to harm fetal brains. The chemicals come from clothing, food packaging, flame retardants, pesticides, food additives and emissions from power plants and plastic production, among other prevalent sources.
Plastics are everywhere and yet there aren’t any safe plastics. There are bad and not so bad plastic, but there is no such thing as perfectly safe plastic.
How to get started to reduce plastics at home?
It can be overwhelming to think about reducing plastics at home. It seems since they are everywhere, it's easy to accumulate a lot of plastic without even meaning to!
Start with toys: The easiest way is starting with toys. Research shows that the less toys, the better when it comes to creativity and imagination. Simply, begin by donating or recycling the toys less played with. Replace toys with quality, less quantity. And choose options such as wooden toys and other toys made with sustainable materials, such as play silks.
Next go to the kitchen: Say bye to the plastic containers. Instead, use glass or steel containers. I guarantee that you don't actually need all the stacks and stacks of plastic containers currently in your cabinet. Target sells glass storage containers that are great for food storage. And for snacks and lunches, I like using Lunchbots (though there are many different brands to choose from).
From here, you can proceed with reducing plastics in the bedrooms and bathrooms as much as you can. Baby steps, little by little. Yes, we may not be able to eliminate ALL plastics. But, a small amount you can reduce, is an investment for the health of your family.