If you are worried about Plastic: how it impacts our health and our environment, stop by the Green Team table on Friday January 16th between noon and 1 pm; look for us on the portico next to the Farmer’s Market.
As you may have heard there are many health hazards associated with the use of plastics; we also know that plastics take hundreds of years to decompose so they are harmful to the health of our environment. For both these reasons we need to find ways to avoid eating and storing foods in plastic and we must purchase less products made out of plastic to reduce our plastic footprint.
Plastic contains chemicals that act as a hormone by disrupting the endocrine system(*1) it emits harmful dioxin chemicals during production and when incinerated causes air pollution and particles to adhere to grassland (*2); it leaches into stored food and affects children who play with it or chew on it by causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disturbances and impaired immunity (*2). It is a threat to our health and to our planet. To protect your health and the health of your children avoid the three most toxic plastics: #3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride, also known as the “Poison Plastic”) #6 PS (Polystyrene) and #7 PC (polycarbonate) Children and babies in the womb are the most affected by the toxins.(*3)
- Avoid #3 PVC: used for vinyl school supplies, binders, lunch boxes, modeling clay, cling wrap, squeeze bottles, cooking oil bottles, building supplies. Do not microwave in plastic containers or use plastic wraps in the microwave. Avoid touching thermal paper cash register receipts: opt to not receive your receipt or wash your hands after handling them. Here is a guide with alternatives to these products http://chej.org/
- Avoid #6 PS as it is toxic to the brain: used in Styrofoam cups, clamshell food takeout. Toxic chemicals leach out into the food especially when heated.
- Avoid any #7 plastic labeled PC used for sports bottles, baby bottles, plastic cutlery….
Here are some steps to lower your plastic footprint:
- Choose to reuse when it comes to shopping bags and bottled water. Cloth bags and metal or glass reusable bottles are available locally at great prices.
- Limit consumption of canned foods and beverages. Look for “BPA-free” refillable bottles and canned goods (becoming more available) or buy things in glass or other non-metal containers
- Refuse single-serving packaging, excess packaging, straws and other ‘disposable’ plastics. Carry reusable utensils in your purse, backpack or car to use at potlucks or take-out restaurants.
- Reduce everyday plastics such as sandwich bags and juice cartons by replacing them with a reusable lunch bag/box that includes a thermos.
- Bring your to-go mug with you to the coffee shop, smoothie shop or restaurants that let you use them. A great way to reduce lids, plastic cups and/or plastic-lined cups.
- Go digital! No need for plastic cds, dvds and jewel cases when you can buy your music and videos online.
- Seek out alternatives such as bio-based plastics http://www.bpiworld.org
- If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics. Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
For more information on plastics and how they impact our health and the health of our planet, visit: