Thursday, March 01, 2012

Plastic-Free Meals

Although it is very hard to avoid living with plastic, its important to understand its impact on our health. When you consider the chemicals in plastic, you should also note they are released while being used and heated.

It has been noted many times before that scratches in plastic containers can be problematic and difficult to clean. Food and drinks stored in plastic absorb the chemicals of the container. When used in microwaves, heat releases the toxins of the compound that is plastic. It is a product that touches every member of the family and pose a high risk to pregnant women, babies and young children whose hormone and early brain development can be effected. Yes, there are concerns but also practical ways to avoid using it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can speak to landfills and other impacts plastic has on our environment. However, you can imagine how that summary might go, and frankly, I'm on their side. Americans annually send an estimated 29 million tons of plastic to the landfill. It deteriorates but never fully breaks down. It is one of the least recycled forms of packaging, due to its numerous recycling codes and disposable convenience. -Just consider how many of us return plastic grocery bags to the store. BPA molecules are linked to form the plastic, but some molecules can escape and leach into food contents. BPA is a known hormone disruptor that has been tied to miscarriage, prostate and breast cancer, obesity and in children, behavioral and cognitive problems. If the plastic is worn, scratched, repeatedly washed or heated, leaching is more likely.

Plastic has its place, but not as much as we have given it. It's a wonderfully versatile compound that works well and with many uses. Styrofoam takeout containers pose an issue too. So my advice is cut down exposure whenever possible. I opt for glass or stainless steel reusables in the kitchen wherever possible. I rather wrap sandwiches in parchment which keeps sandwiches from drying out. I like cloth lunch bags that wash clean in the laundry. Bamboo utensils and stainless steel snack containers are great options too. These alternative products are easily available.

Lastly, I transfer products to my preferred storage containers when I get them home such as with milk, juice and cereals. There are so many fun storage containers on the market that will add style to your kitchen and pantry without breaking the budget. I say, take advantage of the green home options available and have fun being proactive!

Sources: SimplyPure Water Purification System,; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,; United Nations Environment Programme,; Healthy Child Healthy World,; Our Stolen Future,