Let me count the ways… that plastic is just plain toxic for you. Google or Bing it or whatever, but you can’t get past the fact that plastic is awful for the environment and our health.
But how do you avoid it? I prefer my children to have wooden toys but what about Legos (seriously, the most popular toy ever!) While I cannot control everything that my children are exposed to, I believe that the most important way to avoid plastic is to avoid its exposure to the food that we eat.
Transitioning to glass can be costly. I did it slowly, over the course of two years. I am still transitioning. Here are some tips to help with the process:
1. The plates, utensils and cups that we use daily were the first things I replaced. These expose us to toxins everyday and the more frequently they are washed and scrubbed, the more they expose us. As we have small children I was concerned about breakables and so I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Ikea is my best friend. I can purchase glass cups, metal utensils and either glass or ceramic plates for cheap. If they break…eh, not a big deal, they didn’t cost me much to begin with. Yard sales are great for this too!
2. Storage containers. I slowly replaced my plastic food storage containers. Costco sold glass containers with plastic snap lids – 15 pieces for $30. As you can see, this is costly, which is why I did it bit by bit. But these containers can be frozen and last much longer than plastic. Microwaving food is never a good option – it literally kills any nutrients in food – but if you do microwave a container like the one below, cover with a towel or napkin, don’t use the plastic lid.
3. Other food storage containers. A lot of food companies use plastic to store food, like dried beans. I use Ball Jars to store my beans, grains, nuts (in the freezer!), popcorn, granola, oatmeal, trail mix, chocolate chips, even tea bags. I also use Ball Jars for freezing pasta sauce, ketchup, chai, whey, buttermilk and harissa. Ball Jars look pretty sitting on your counter with the various food items in them and wherever they are placed, store much more neatly than in bags.
4. Plastic baggies. These are tough to replace. I still use them for odd sized items that I need to freeze, but I make sure to wrap my food in aluminum foil first so that I limit exposure to the plastic. For sandwiches, this is a great idea (which you could also make yourself): http://www.reuseit.com/store/Sandwich+%26+Snack+Bags-c-248_250.html.
5. Lunch boxes: http://www.ecolunchboxes.com/
6. Great link for glass jars, cheap: http://www.jarstore.com/
7. Reuse glass jars. I purchase honey, salsa and jam, amongst other things in glass jars. When I finish using them, I simply wash the jars and reuse them.
8. Avoid plastic wrap: http://www.beeswrap.com/
9. Old fashioned tins. Yes, those horrible looking things that your grandmother had all over the house, usually on display and not in use. You can find some that are much more attractive than what your grandmother might have had. I found some at Ikea around the December holidays.
11. Use ceramic or glass pitcher or jug for milk and/or juice. Just fill up the jug after you purchase your milk or juice. If you need to cover the pitcher/jug use a bees wrap or aluminum foil (And guess what?!? Aluminum is recyclable as long as it is clean of food.)
12. Bakeware. Those silicon bakeware…not such a great idea. Use glass, ceramic, uncoated metal or clay.
13. Water bottles: http://www.kleankanteen.com/
14. Mixing/serving bowls: Use glass, metal or ceramic.
And while I’m on the topic of replacing products you use with food, let me talk about one of the worst culprits in the kitchen. Non-stick cookware should be replaced in your home. Options? Cast iron or enamel-coated cast iron work great. Le Creuset is an example of enamel coated cast iron, but you can certainly find less expensive versions. (Le Creuset and other cast iron companies sell non-stick coated cast iron…clearly, this defeats the purpose.) http://www.shopperschoice.com/item_item_1836363.html?source=froogle&mr:trackingCode=8BAED901-13F8-E111-9B44-001B21BCB944&mr:referralID=NA&mr:adType=pla&mr:ad=22217264062&mr:keyword=&mr:match=&mr:filter=46837489702&gclid=CNfx-sPsn7YCFcqd4AoddA4Aqg