Plastic is used everywhere. From packaging, medical supplies, clothing, and cosmetic containers to electronics and furniture. It’s even used to line tin cans. Look around your home and just see how many items are made of plastic. And the use of vast amounts of plastic is causing us environmental issues and potential health hazards. The chemicals in plastic are toxic. They are notorious hormone disruptors, like BPA. They are able to bind to estrogen receptors and elicit much stronger reaction than estrogen (a reason why named Xenoestrogens; fake estrogens).
The good news is that there are many options for using less plastic. This requires establishing new habits, which is not difficult, and in some cases will even save you money.
Let’s start talking about why we should use less plastic.
Issues with Plastic:
- Plastic is made from petroleum and other petrochemicals which consumes vast amounts of natural resources.
- It contains harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) which was added to the process to make plastic soft, so it could bend and be formed into different items like containers, shopping bags, water bottles, baggies, and plastic wrap. BPA was originally designed as a synthetic estrogen for women. However, it was discovered it made plastic soft. Now we are just getting trace amounts in our food and beverages and from our clothes if they are made from polyester.
- It’s not biodegradable. What does that mean? It doesn’t easily break down into single molecules and make its way back into the earth. How long does it take to break down? It can take less than a year or up to 50 years. It depends on the type and quality of the plastic. It also depends on where it’s residing. Plastic in warm ocean water degrades faster than plastic in the landfill.
- When it degrades, it’s not producing any useful molecules nature can use. It’s actually breaking down into toxic chemicals and polluting the earth more than when it was plastic.
- Plastic pollution in the oceans, beaches, and land is a big problem. The most common items found are straws, plastic wrap, bottles, and bags – with many of these showing up on beaches or seen floating in the water. They are even showing up in places where people don’t go.
- Plastic bags, straws, and other types of soft plastics like these are harmful to wildlife.
How to Use Less Plastic:
- Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. This is difficult, but the more you think about it, the more options you will find.
- Buy fruits and vegetables as single items, not packaged.
- Look for items in glass jars.
- Purchase dessert items at bakeries that still use cardboard boxes or paper bags.
- Ask the butcher, if your grocery store still has a butcher department, if he can package your meat or fish in the thick waxed paper they previously used. Many butchers still use it when you buy items in the display case as opposed to the refrigerator and freezer bunker or case.
- Look for detergents and other products in boxes. They still exist.
- Use cloth shopping bags or support stores that have switched to plastic corn bags. However, it should be noted that if these plastic bags end up in the landfill, they don’t necessarily degrade faster than the plastic made from petrochemicals. Cloth is best. Just keep these bags in the trunk of your car so they are always handy. You can also purchase eco produce bags (sometimes found at your local grocery store). Take these bags with you when you purchase your produce and use these instead of the plastic bags provided.
- Wear clothing made of natural materials such as cotton, wool, or silk instead of synthetic materials such as polyester. When washing synthetic clothing, fibers flake off, and these tiny pieces of microplastic are showing up in our water systems. Even clothing that is a mixture of natural fabric and polyester is better than 100% polyester. Polyester also doesn’t breathe, and this means body odor will be more prevalent from sweating.
- Don’t throw old electronics in the trash to get rid of them. Take them to a facility that will recycle them, or give them to a person who repairs electronics as the parts may be useful.
- Be the one to reuse the plastic. This is called upcycling. If you are creative and crafty, there are many things you can do with plastic bottles and bags. Just google “upcycling plastic” for sites that have ideas and instructions.
Lowering Single-Use Plastic:
Plastic containers have the advantage that they can be used repeatedly. They last for years. From a pollution perspective, this is better. While the production of the plastic is not environmentally-friendly, we can at least produce less when it’s reusable. However, single-use plastic, where we use it once and throw it away, is one of the biggest concerns.
Here are some easy suggestions to reduce single-use plastic:
Reusable Plastic Wrap.
There is now reusable wrap available, usually made from beeswax and other biodegradable ingredients, that can be pressed around the jar or food that you are storing. These wraps can be reused up to 150 times and can be washed. They are suitable for wrapping lunches and storing foods in the refrigerator. They can also be used for storage in the freezer for up to 30 days. They are breathable, which means air can pass through them. This makes the food less prone to mold. Plastic does not breathe.
Don’t Use Plastic Straws.
They’re not needed. And if you do want to use one, purchase a stainless steel or glass straw. It can be washed and used over and over again indefinitely.
Purchase a Stainless Steel or Glass Water Bottle.
Fill it with good quality water. If you like bottled spring water, get a water cooler for your home from a company that has glass jugs. Fill your reusable bottle at home. It’s not only good for the environment, but it will also save you money.
Bring a Mug to Work.
By doing this, you will not rely on plastic cups for coffee or water. Use a mug with a lid so when you get your favorite coffee to go, you just hand your mug to the clerk to fill.
Bring Your Own Container for Takeout and Leftovers When You Eat Out.
Even if you’re ordering takeout – pick it up and ask them to put it in your containers when you arrive. This may seem like an awkward thing to do, but you won’t be the only one asking.
Avoid Using Disposable Plastic Plates, Cups, and Cutlery.
There may be occasions when you have to purchase disposable cutlery and plates. Look for ones that are made from recycled paper or biodegradable plastic. However, try to use real plates and cutlery. Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring their own plates and cutlery to the family picnic.
Stop Using Plastic Bags for Storage.
It’s better to store food in harder plastic containers than use plastic bags. There are also glass and stainless-steel containers that can be used for storing lunches or food in the refrigerator. The glass containers usually have plastic lids to go with them but that is still less plastic.
Using less plastic will send a signal to manufacturers that they need to have better environmental options for their products. Don’t be afraid to contact companies who make products that you like. Let them know that you want them to use less plastic.
Red Lentil Curry Soup with Pita Chips
Serves 41–2 tbsp butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
3 tbsp chopped white onion
10 cremini or shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups bone, chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, cut into pieces
2 large unpeeled carrots, sliced
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 cup non-chlorinated water, plus more as needed
4 cups chopped spinach or baby spinach
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup full-fat yogurt or coconut yogurt
- Heat a soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the butter, coconut oil, or olive oil and onions. Lightly sauté.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for three minutes. If the onions or mushrooms start to stick, add some of the broth.
- Add the garlic and curry powder and stir. Add the broth, potatoes, carrots, red lentils, and water. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer.
- Cover and simmer for 45–50 minutes, until the vegetables and lentils are soft. Add more water or broth if the soup becomes too thick.
- Add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
- Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with yogurt. Serve with pita chips.
Have you joined our Facebook group?
We are a group of like-minded women celebrating our age. Supporting each other to navigate through changes and challenges. This is a safe place to share, learn and ask. Find us on Facebook and join us HERE.
To your radiant health, with love
PS!! IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
Due to request I am keeping open cart for my latest program REBORN and moving the starting date to June 3rd.
If you didn’t have the chance to check out the program, please do so. This is a great opportunity to get a huge value for a low investment. Even if you are in good health you need this information to know how to prevent age-related health issues.
Here is the link to check it out: https://drilona.lpages.co/reborn-8-week-program