Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide.
About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute.
A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down.
Every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.
This blog focuses on reducing the amount of single-use or disposable plastic we use, the plastic that is manufactured so we can use it for a few minutes or even just a few seconds before we discard it or “throw it away”. I previously shared the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s “Basic Concepts of Plastic”, but it is something worth discussing again.
One of the biggest problems is that this plastic will NEVER go away. It will always be around in our environment. Plastic does not biodegrade; it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Each and every piece of plastic ever made it still around today – somewhere, in some form.
Plastic never goes away.
And while it’s around, plastics leak toxic chemicals into our food, soil, and water causing illness and death in humans and wildlife.
“In terms of health risks, the evidence is growing that chemicals leached from plastics used in cooking and food/drink storage are harmful to human health. The most disturbing of these are hormone (endocrine) disrupters, such as Bisphenol A (BPA), which can stimulate the growth of cancer cells. Exposure to BPA at a young age can cause genetic damage, and BPA has been linked to recurrent miscarriage in women. The health risks of plastic are significantly amplified in children, whose immune and organ systems are developing and are more vulnerable.” Life Without Plastic
In this blog, I often suggest replacing single-use plastics with reusable plastic containers. It is important to note, however, that recent research shows that some of the plastics we like to reuse also have health problems associated with them.
- Reuse It Safely: Food Packaging
- Plastics Not to Reuse
- Are Plastic Food Containers Too Toxic to Reuse?
- The Trouble With Tupperware
- Study: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals
Plastic food containers are labeled with a number that indicates their type of plastic. The safest ones to REUSE are #2, 4, and 5 and you should AVOID reusing #3, 6, and 7. Taking a quick look at the boxes I reuse – dairy product containers made by Juhayna and some of the boxes that I’ve purchased – I noticed they are all #5. Unfortunately, not all of the reusable plastic boxes that I’ve purchased are labeled.
Ideally though, we would all have glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers to use. But we don’t. Read the articles linked above, do your own research, and then decide whether or not you want to use plastic at all for storing foods. If you want to avoid all plastic, you’ll have to find or invest in some other containers. You can REUSE the glass jars that olives, jam, etc. come in or check the second-hand markets in town and online. For me personally, for now I am using what I have – a range of plastic, glass, and stainless steel containers. I avoid the plastic containers for hot foods but perhaps need to rethink the use of the plastic containers in general.
So if you’re lucky enough to have some glass or stainless steel containers, that’s great! Please use them for food instead of reusable plastic ones. You’ll be protecting your health.
Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle