7 Good Reasons to Ditch Plastic Containers
Why is it that in a natural world our society has become so attached to unnatural products? People surround themselves with processed materials that require large machines and complicated pollution-producing processes when there are simple natural alternative all around them – and plastic is the worst offender.
Plastic poses a threat to humanity simply because it’s so versatile and used almost everywhere. Every year shoppers use more than 500 billion plastic bags – enough to wrap around the planet more than 4000 times. Over ten thousand pieces of plastic are flushed into the ocean every day, worsening water acidification and killing hundreds of thousands of animals every year.
Plastic doesn’t only harm our distant environment but it also impacts our everyday routines in ways that we hardly realize. The most common health threat of plastic use stems from an overlooked source – what we eat.
Plastic Invades our Food and Drinks
Let’s suppose you’ve got your diet fine-tuned with healthy habits. Organic vegetables next to non-processed foods and plenty of vitamins and minerals. If you’re carrying the food in plastic containers and guzzling your water from a plastic bottle you’re eating habits might not be as safe as you thought.
Here are a few reasons for you to separate plastic from your eating habits ASAP:
BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical that became widely used in industrial plastics during the 1960s. It was only recently that scientists concerned themselves with researching the effect of this chemical on our health. So far they have linked it to heart problems, effects on the brain, hormone imbalance, and possibly other conditions like ADHD and diabetes.
Don’t think that because a plastic is “BPA Free” it’s completely safe. Many manufacturers have launched deceptive marketing campaigns that ensure the safety of their product without discussing the use of BPS (bisphenol S), a similar chemical with equally toxic properties. The studies surrounding BPS are frighteningly limited. What they have found is similar hormone-copying properties that can affect our health. To top it all off, BPS is actually less biodegradable than BPA, making it an environmentally destructive alternative.
Leaching is the process that makes BPA and BPS such a major threat. The manufacturing of plastics produces several chemicals that can easily be absorbed in a process called migration, or as the media has more commonly labeled “leaching”. During leaching bits of plastic can be transferred from the containers to the food we eat, creating a direct transfer of foreign material into our bodies.
- Absorbing Smell and Color
Unlike the healthier natural alternatives, plastic has a porous texture that isn’t ideal for storing certain products. It can easily soak of the odor and color of particular foods and taint your plastic containers. You may notice that after several uses the plastics look and smell like a food regardless of how hard you scrub.
- Environmental Impact
As we mentioned earlier, plastics play a huge role in the destruction of our environment. They take incredibly long time to decompose compared to alternatives and fill up landfills. While leaking toxins into our environment they also pose a serious threat to wildlife. Recycling has been posed as a solution to this but it might not be as effective as we thought. Plastic has to be down cycled and produces a lower quality each time. While it is a lot better than simply throwing the plastic away, avoiding it all together could be a godsend to our planet’s health.
- Leading to Obesity
Did you realize that your plastic water bottle can cause obesity as well ? That’s right, plastics around your food can actually contribute to weight gain as well. A study using mice found that BPA played a big role in reducing the animals’ sensitivity to insulin. This made the production of fat cells more likely. The adipocytes (also known as lipocytes and fat cells) accumulated with increased speed, enabling the mice to become fatter quicker.
A new line of studies shows a shocking connection between plastic chemicals and human fertility. Research done by scientists at Harvard suggests that one fifth of unexplained infertility issues could very well be a result of BPA and BPS exposure. An additional terror is the possibility of birth defects like down syndrome in developing fetuses.
Where Does it Come From?
Some of the plastic sources near our food are fairly obvious. Others are appear deceptively innocent. Here is a short list of common food and drink items containing plastics:
- Canned foods
- Canned drinks
- Infant bottles and pacifiers
- Register Receipts
- Food storage containers
- Disposable drink bottles
You don’t have to sacrifice convenience and versatility if you switch from plastics. As a matter of fact, most alternatives provide much more long term use than plastic products. Glass can be used countless times over for food storage without absorbing food odor or releasing chemicals into our food. It can store liquids, solids, jams, or even pickle vegetables. Get creative and use leftover glass for arts and crafts, plant storage, or turn a mason jar into your own personal chalice.
It’s not incredibly difficult to divorce yourself from a plastic consuming lifestyle. Follow some of these tips to reduce your exposure to chemicals and ensure the safety of your food.
- Buy mason jars and glass products of assorted sizes to store your food and leftovers in.
- When you buy food that already comes in plastic, take it out and store it in glass as soon as you get home.
- Get a water filter on your tap to avoid buying plastic bottles and save money.
- Shop around organic markets, they tend to use much more natural packaging.