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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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 Plates
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.