Plastic Purge

Plastic is EVERYWHERE! Look around you.  Can you find an area of your life where no plastic exists?  I can’t.  I wish I could just eliminate the darn stuff altogether.  Really, I do.  I would really like to not have to think about plastic and all the nasty effects it can have.  I wish I didn’t think about plastics and be kind of over the top about them sometimes, but hey, that is not me.  Maybe someday that wish could come true, but I highly doubt it.  You see, plastics is big business, and it is also the reason why I am able to sit here and talk to you all about plastic.  My computer is plastic.  My smartphone….plastic.  TV….plastic.  Shocker guys, a lot of things are plastic.  A lot of plastics I have replaced in my home, but a lot of things don’t seem to have a replacement.  Sure, I could go without TV.  Well, I think I could, but really I do not want to.  At the end of the day, I just want some high quality dark chocolate and The Voice.  But, there are areas I have been able to purge the plastic.  Literally, purge the crap.  Over the last 8 years, I’ve replaced the plastics with glass, metal, or wood.  Which brings me to this book I recently read titled, How To Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out Of Your Body, And Help Save The Sea Turtles! Plastic Purge by Michael Sanclements.

You see Michael Sanclements has laid out a really great argument for why you should reconsider the plastics in your life, and has given a variety of solutions to get you started.  Now, some of them were a little too much for me, but, he has given a few solutions for you to try and see what works for you.  Some of the stuff I have been doing for years and some of the stuff I have wanted to do, but just have not done.  Life is full and there are only so many sacrifices we are willing to make.  Hey, I get that, me too!  My point is, you can pick and choose and start small or big, but start, please, for me, you, your children, your grandchildren…please.

So, where did I start?  Where should you start?  That is up to you.  I started with the plastic baby bottles our then 6 month old was using.  We ditched those for Glass and that worked for us.  Then, we started ditching the plastic toys we had already accumulated.  We donated them or gave them to others.  We sought out well made wooden toys.  I highly recommend Plan Toys.  Really guys, you can get a bunch of plastic stuff that will likely break and be in a landfill, or you can spend a few bucks more, get a little less, and have toys that last for your Grandchildren to enjoy too!  After the toys, it was on to plastic food storage containers.  We slowly replaced those with Pyrex Containers.  Buy them when there is a sale or a rebate.  Plastic Wrap was on that list too.  We opted for parchment paper and now use a variety of Silicone Lids that Norwex offers.  We also stopped microwaving our food at this time, but that is another post.  I encourage you to start with the thing that you want to rid your home of first, and then slowly purge the plastic and replace as you can.  Baby steps will get you where you want to go and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Why though?  Why do I want to encourage you to make some changes and purge the plastic?  Because there are big reasons why.  Here are a few for me from Michael’s book:

  • If you skip the canned and packaged stuff in the grocery store, you can reduce the amount of BPA in your body by 50 to 70%
  • This crazy fact:  The energy in about 9 plastic bags is enough to drive a car about 3/4 of a mile.
  • Other countries, such as, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, and China have bans on plastic bags.  (They must be on to something!)
  • 2,000,000 plastic bags are consumed globally each minute (What?!?!!!  That is a crazy huge number)
  • Some of the alternatives to BPA can lining may be equally bad (Yup, I know, wha wha)
  • Canned beer is often lined with a BPA containing resin.  (Opt for glass bottles and then make some kind of collage out of the beer caps.)
  • Bottled water wasn’t available until 1990!  We can live without it.  I promise you.  Check out my favorite alternative to plastic.  The fact that bottled water is highly unregulated because it is not classified as water by the FDA.  Yup, you read that correctly.  It is classified as food, so it does not necessarily undergo the same tests and checks as tap water.
  • A plastic water bottle may contain harmful plastic chemicals as well, such as Bisphenol-S (BPS), BPF or BPB.  Ah, don’t try to be a freakin’ scientist, just opt for what you know doesn’t contain a plastic liner.  Some gal pals of mine choose to use Canning Jars with reusable lids.  This is a great multipurpose use.
  • On the go coffee cups are lined with plastic, not wax.  I used to tell myself it was wax, but it is not.  Sad.  I bought a ceramic coffee cup and most coffee shops will even give you a small credit for using your cup.  Not only are you keeping your costs down and enjoying a hotter cup of Joe, but you are reducing your plastic consumption too.
  • Your PVC shower curtain liner smells when you bring it home.  It can off gas high levels of toxins for up to a month.  No thanks here!  There are many affordable green shower curtain liners on the market now.  Check them out.  I found mine at Home Goods.
  • Phthalates are in many plastics and have been linked to many nasty things, such as, impaired reproductive development in males, sperm damage, and premature breast development in girls along with a lot of other yucky health effects.
  • BPA levels found in cashiers were almost 20 percent higher.  Receipts often contain BPA.  (Not at my co-op!)  You can skip the receipt.
 Which one of these is motivation for you to purge some plastic?  Do you want to learn more and make some educated decisions for you and your family?  I highly recommend Michael’s book, but I also recommend talking to others who have started the plastic purge journey.  I am here and ready to share.  Just ask.