Life Without Plastic - 20 Easy Ways To Go Plastic Free

A life without plastic is a challenging but rewarding goal. Your efforts to reduce the plastic in your life also reduces your exposure to some nasty endocrine disrupting and cancer causing chemicals.

A life without plastic, or at least a life with less plastic, is a challenging but rewarding goal. Because your efforts to reduce the plastic in your life also reduces your exposure to some nasty endocrine disrupting and cancer causing chemicals. Especially when it comes to the food/plastic combo.

Why Plastic Is Toxic

A single plastic part may be made up of 5-30 different chemicals. The exact chemicals used are considered trade secrets and are not disclosed.

What is known is that many of the chemicals used to make plastics, the additives, preservatives and monomers, aren’t chemically bound to it. That means they evaporate and leach easily from plastic. Into your air, food and water.

Take polystyrene for example. Polystyrene is used to make those icky food containers, plates and cups that are tough to avoid when you order take out or attend a barbecue.

But you need to avoid them. Studies have found that at room temperature styrofoam containers release numerous VOCs into the air, including the carcinogens styrene, benzaldehyde, benzene and toulene. And at just 130 F at least 30 different chemicals are released from styrofoam containers. 

Some Of The Toxic Chemicals In Plastic

And it's not just styrofoam you need to avoid. All types of plastics release chemicals that disrupt your endocrine system and cause cancer. These include: 

  • Antimony: possible human carcinogen, developmental and reproductive toxin.
  • BHT/BHA: BHA is anticipated to be a human carcinogen by the National Institutes of Health, while BHT has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, and been shown to interfere with normal reproductive system development and thyroid hormone levels in animals.
  • BPA: endocrine disrupter linked to asthma, breast, liver and prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and obesity. It is also thought to cause behavioral changes in children.
  • Phthalates: endocrine disrupters linked to diabetes, infertility, obesity, allergies and asthma, altered toddler behavior. 
  •  Styrene: probable human carcinogen, central nervous system toxin.
  • Vinyl chloride – a human carcinogen linked with liver, brain and lung cancers and lymphoma and leukemia.

And don't buy the hype that BPA free, PET and PEVA plastics are safe. When BPA is removed from plastic it's replaced with similar chemicals that recent testing has found are just as dangerous as BPA.

PET releases antimony and phthalates. PEVA (Polyethylene vinyl acetate), considered a safer alternative to PVC plastic because it's chlorine-free, releases many of the same toxic chemicals as PVC.

Living Without Plastic Food Containers

Plastic and food are a toxic combo. Plastic chemicals leach easily into food, especially acidic food and hot foods. And microwaving food in plastic increases the toxic contamination.

Luckily, a lot more plastic free food containers are now available. Below are some solutions for plastic free food 2 go, plastic free food storage and plastic free parties. 

For Plastic Free Food 2 Go

Buying takeout and packing a lunch can be difficult when your living a life without plastic. Here are some great options for plastic free food 2 go.

  1. For takeout or microwave lunches try Disposable Kraft Paper Take Out Food Containers that are microwavable. Just ask your favorite takeout joints to use them for your orders.

  2. For takeout foods you weigh, like grocery store salad and hot bars, try Wheat Grass Clam Shells.  

  3. For coffee on the go there are plenty of interesting options like glass and stainless travel mugs with silicone lids and lightweight silicone mugs.
    (Hot beverages are served at temperatures between 160 degrees F and 185 degrees F so silicone is an option.)

  4. For takeout coffee and tea try a Barista size glass mug with silicone sleeve and lid is a great option.

Plastic free options for packing your lunch include

    5. Bee's Wrap Sustainable Reusable Sandwich Wrap 

    6. Stainless Steel Sandwich Containers

    7. Stainless steel lunch boxes and Stainless Steel Snack Containers with Silicone Lids

For Plastic Free Food Storage

Over the past few years a life without plastic food storage containers has become easier. There are now perfect plastic free options like silicone, glass, stainless steel and cloth.

If you choose to use silicone to store food just don’t use it to heat foods. Studies have found that silicone isn’t stable at temps above 200 F. For more on this check out Is Silicone Cookware Safe?

    8. Instead of Ziploc plastic bags try Reusable Silicone food storage bags

    9. Instead of plastic wrap try Bee's Wrap food wrap

    10. Silicone food protectors

    11. Reusable Mesh Produce Bags      

    12. Mason jars with stainless steel lids  

     13. Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers with Silicone Lids

     14. Glass Containers You can replace the plastic lids with Silicone stretch lids.

     15. Silicone Food Storage Containers 

For Plastic Free Parties

Throwing a party doesn't have to mean throwing your life without plastic goals out the window. There are some really cool new options for throwing a plastic free party.

     16. Instead of plastic straws use Biodegradable Paper Straws

     17. Instead of plastic silverware switch to disposable wooden cutlery 

     18. Instead of styrofoam plates and bowls use Wheat Straw Fiber Plate

     19. Instead of styrofoam or plastic lined hot beverage cups invest in some colorful enamel mugs or hit the thrift store for cheap Correlle coffee mugs.

    20. Instead of plastic beverage bottles serve fruit infused water and tea.

P.S.  Instead of vinyl tablecloths get creative with canvas drop cloths. The 4' x 5' and 6 x 9 cloths are good picnic table sizes. You can paint or decorate them. And also make them spill proof with Otter Fabric Wax.

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