Easy Swaps To Reduce Toxic Plastic In Your Home

Uncategorized Jan 27, 2021
By Melissa Zitt

 

Plastic is a wonder material. It is lightweight, versatile, and cheap. It is also highly toxic.

When the dangers of the plastic compound BPA (bisphenol A) were exposed, manufactures found similar, equally destructive compounds to replace it. To reduce these endocrine disrupting chemicals and other toxins, it is best to reduce the use of all plastics as much as possible.

 

Instead of plastic, choose items made from these materials:

  • Bamboo
  • Stainless Steel                                             
  • Cast Iron    
  • Palm Leaf                                                 
  • Glass                                                 
  • Ceramic or Stone
  • Food Grade Silicone    

Note: In addition to your health, ditching plastic is better for our planet. Some of the suggested replacements may not be sustainable or eco friendly. Choose based on your own values and budget.              

 

 

Single use plastic items should be the first things you replace.

Disposable plastic items like Ziploc bags, plastic wrap, solo cups, disposable straws, and takeout utensils are potentially the most harmful of plastic sources. They are typically made with plastics that degrade faster than sturdier plastic products. This means they can leach into your foods even easier - especially if you wash or reuse them. While reusing single use plastic seems like the better choice for the environment, it is a worse choice for your health. All the more reason to not use them at all.

 

There are many other sources of plastic in your home.

It is not feasible, or even necessary, to replace them all. Your tv remote and light switches are just fine! Focus on the items that regularly touch your food or mouth or are exposed to heat, which breaks them down faster and may release the toxins into the air you breathe. Here are a few items you may consider swapping (gradually of course):

  • Water or Tea Pitchers                         
  • Kids Toys and Teethers                 
  • Cutting Boards
  • Kids Dinnerware                                     
  • Bulk Food Storage (pantry cannisters)                         
  • Shower Curtain Liners                                 
  • Tupperware                                             
  • Mixing Bowls                                               
  • Keurig Pods             
  • Ladles, Spatulas, Etc.                           
  • Non-Stick Cookware

Luckily, there is a current emphasis on reducing plastic due to its destruction of the environment. This means there are thousands of alternatives to choose from.

 

"This is overwhelming"

I know. Our family went through the process over a span of a year or so. If you have an open budget, feel free to go on a shopping spree (links below) and replace it all at once! That would be fun and I wish we could have done it that way. But that's not realistic for most people and it certainly wasn't for us.

I advise a gradual approach. Here's how we went about it:

  1. Stop buying new plastic items, decline straws and utensils from takeout restaurants, etc.
  2. Get rid of single use plastic. Clean out the drawer of random takeout utensils, toss the plastic wrap, and pour out the bottled water. (It may seem wasteful to throw these out now but you will eventually throw them out anyway, after you have ingested their toxins.)
  3. Replace the plastic items that are exposed to heat. This would be your plastic spatulas, Tupperware and kids plates (if you microwave), Keurig pods, etc.
  4. Replace other food items such as cutting boards, tea pitchers, bulk containers, etc.
  5. Replace non food plastic items like toys.

Tip: Have a conversation now with family members who may be making purchases for you and your kids. Tell them about your desire to protect your family from plastic toxins and request that they keep that in mind when gifting to your family. If your child does receive plastic toys, you can evaluate the risk and choose to keep it or donate it after the fact. I have found that pressing the issue when it comes to gifts rarely has a happy ending.

 

 

Here are just a few examples of what I personally use around the house to replace common plastic items:

 

Compostable plates and cutlery for parties

 

Beeswax food wraps (plastic wrap alternative)

 

Portable stainless steel drinking straws

 

Silicone stretch lids 

 

Silicone storage bags

 

Glass water bottle (with handy ounce and time markings)

 

 

Title photo by Min An from Pexels

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