Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Safer Plastics?? Lets just try to avoid them.
Did you know that there are over 10,000 kinds of plastics? Gasp! I had no idea. Plastics are not required by law to be labeled and I think this law should be changed. All plastics degrade over time and have the potential to leach. Safer plastics leach less and/or have less toxic ingredients. Note the word "less". Meaning that there is no safe plastic really. The plastics you should be especially attentive to those that touch your skin, foods, or beverages. To help reduce pollution, look for plastics you can recycle or just plain avoid them as much as possible.
If you do use plastics, you should try to learn about the safer plastics and what number they are. Here is a breakdown to help you out.
Uses-Soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles. Should not be reused.
#2 HDPE Safer
Uses-Milk Jugs, Plastic bags, yogurt cups.
#3 PVC Avoid
Uses-Salad Dressing Bottles, Cling Wrap, Teething Rings, Pacifiers, Toys, Shower Curtains.
Concerns-Can leach lead and phthalates among other things. Can also off-gas toxic chemicals.
#4 LDPE Safer
Uses-Produce bags, food storage containers
#5 PP Safer
Uses-Bottle caps, storage containers, dish ware
#6 PS Avoid
Uses-Meat trays, foam food containers and cups.
Concerns-Can leach cancer causing styrene.
#7 Other Avoid
This is a catch all category which includes PC and it can leach BPA.
MF, ABS and SAN. These are plastics that are safer because they are very durable and resistent to high heat resulting in less leaching. The drawback is that they are usually not recyclable and some need additional safety research. The new plant-based biodegradable plastics like PLA also fall into the #7 category.
How to be wise with plastics
Never expose plastics to extreme heat or use plastic in the microwave. Avoid it all together if possible. Avoid storing fatty or acidic foods in plastic containers. Hand wash plastics with mild soapy water and if you notice the plastic looks worn, scratched or cracked-stop using it and recycle it.
How can I avoid plastics? Well at first it seems hard but I promise its not. Its actually pretty easy. Here are a few ways I avoid plastics and get around not having to use them.
-Stop buying plastic all together. This includes plastic storage lunch type bags (will not use the name but they start with a Z), cling wrap, plastic storage containers, and plastic disposable (actually just dont buy anything disposable).
-Find glass containers with lids at thrift stores and yard sales. This way you will not need plastic cling wrap to cover food. I also just use large glass bowls and put a plate on it to keep it from getting yucky in the fridge.
-Use stainless steel or glass containers in lunch's. Glass containers in lunches should be thick glass but be aware that they do come with plastic lids. Hand wash them in warm water only. Be prepared to spend a little more cash for stainless steel and these will leak if liquid food is put into them.
-Use reusable fabric bags for sandwich's and snacks. These can breath easy and keep your food from getting yucky. They also can be hand washed or tossed in the washer. Hang to dry. These usually cost around $6 a piece. I bought mine 2 years ago and they are still being used 5 days a week with no problems. There are lots of directions online or you can just buy them online from places like Etsy or snacktaxi.
-To avoid salad dressings in plastic bottles, make your own salad dressing at home. Look up your favorite type of dressing on recipezaar and use a glass container. Should keep for 1 week in the fridge.
-Natures Way is a great product too. They make great wax paper and wax paper bags for sandwich's you can toss in the garbage .
One thing that really helped me out was reading this amazing blog by Beth Terry called Fake Plastic Fish. I suggest reading her blog and follow her on her journey to rid plastic out of her life. Learn how to avoid them and to take a active role in getting companies to get rid of their plastic habits.
Just today the Crunchy Chicken did an amazing post on getting rid of plastics. Don't forget to read all the comments. There are so many good tips on how to get rid of plastic and use other alternatives.
To make your life easier check these companies out. They have everything reusable that you can think of.
planetbox ( I really really want these!)
lunchboxes-the old hum drum lunch box dad always used
happytiffin ( again I really really want this!)