If you haven’t heard, plastic is bad, really bad. Plastic contains many harmful chemicals, including phthalates, PVC and sometimes BPA. These are endocrine disruptors, meaning they affect our hormones and can inhibit genetic development and even cause infertility. Furthermore, there are studies that show these chemicals are linked to cancer, birth defects, endometriosis, impaired immune function, early onset puberty, miscarriages, obesity, diabetes and the list goes on.
In fact, even BPA-free plastic is bad! Many BPA-free plastic manufacturers have simply replaced BPA with BPS, a similarly structured chemical that hasn’t been researched as much. But BPS still acts as an endocrine disruptor and it’s even less biodegradable than BPA, which also means that it will stick around in your body longer than BPA. And BPA-free plastic can still contain other harmful chemicals like phthalates and PVC. (source)
Ok that seems pretty scary, but I’m not done. Let’s look at the environmental affects of plastic:
- 1 million plastic bags are used every minute
- A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade
- Every square mile of ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it
- Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down (source)
Ok seriously, 1 million plastic bags every minute?? I can’t even wrap my head around that. All I can conclude, is our addiction to plastic is bad. It may have seemed easy and convenient many years ago, but I think it’s safe to say that now we need to desperately reduce this trend.
The statistics seem overwhelming, but if we all start in our own homes, that’s at least a step in the right direction. So, what kind of materials are safe to use instead of plastic?
- Stainless Steel (18/8 or 18/10 Grade)
- Cast Iron
Notice I didn’t include aluminum, teflon or non-stick options, because these bad boys are also chemical offenders and should be avoided.
There are definitely some things that are almost impossible to find in non-plastic versions. But you can do a lot by replacing a few major items in your home. Especially items that you come into contact with a lot or that come into contact with your food.
Plastic Items To Replace In Your Home
- Plastic Water Bottles – Please people, even if you have a reusable plastic water bottle, it’s still very bad for you. You’re drinking harmful chemicals everyday. Switch to a Hydro Flask, made out of 18/8 stainless steel, or a LifeFactory glass water bottle. I even love the idea of reusing a large glass Perrier bottle as a water bottle.
- Plastic Tupperware – Switch to glass or silicone tupperware. This silicone option looks pretty awesome! Also try to stick with using tupperware for all of your food storage needs. Instead of using a snack bag, grab a small tupperware container. You can even use stainless steel bento box for lunch. Note though that this option is NOT microwaveable.
- Plastic Utensils – Replace plastic spoons, spatulas and ladles with bamboo, stainless steel or silicone options. Again these utensils are usually used under heat and with food, so it’s very important that they aren’t plastic.
- Plastic Bags – Again reusable, reusable, reusable. Reusable grocery bags, sandwich bags and snack bags will reduce plastic exposure by a lot. And you’ll be helping the earth. I always keep a few bags in my car just in case I need to run an errand.
- Plastic Kitchen Tools – Replace plastic cutting boards with bamboo, plastic mixing bowls with glass and plastic measuring cups and spoons with stainless steel goes a long way. You can also get silicone cupcake liners, a silicone funnel and stainless steel popsicle molds if you really want to go the extra mile!
- Plastic in your Tea – Your best bet here is to use loose leaf tea in a glass or ceramic tea pot. Tea bags are coated with plasticizers that break down after coming in contact with boiling water. (source)
- Plastic in your Cleaners – Instead of your cleaning products sitting in plastic bottles, make your own and put them in glass bottles. I’ll be adding a post with my favorite DIY cleaning recipes a little later.
- Plastic Cups – Bring your own reusable coffee mug for drinks on the road. I love using my Hydro Flask to grab a coffee at my local Looney Bean.
- Processed Food in Plastic Packaging – Whenever you can, buy your food without packaging. Buy at Farmer’s Markets, buy fresh not frozen and try to find food in glass containers over cans or plastic packaging.
Start by first going through your home and spotting what is plastic that you would like to replace. Also note which items you come into contact with most. For example, it’s probably more pertinent to replace your plastic water bottle than it is to replace your plastic popsicle molds. Start slowly replacing items as you can. Don’t try to replace everything all at once or you could become overwhelmed. I still have a lot of plastic items in my kitchen that I’m working toward replacing. (A lot of the replacements are sitting on my wedding registry!) So, it’s a journey and don’t expect to race to the top. These things take time. Pat yourself on the back for the small changes you make. Every little change is a healthy step for you and your family.
What plastic items do you want to replace in your home? What do you think will be the hardest thing to replace?
This post contains Amazon affiliate links. However, all of my opinions are my own and are not swayed by being an affiliate.