REFILL NOT LANDFILL
Some plastics slowly release toxic chemicals from which they’re made, a process called leaching, and heating the plastic speeds up the process. These toxic chemicals are released into the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. Think of all the single-use items that you use in a given time period. From plastic water bottles to grocery bags to the lids of take-out containers you have so many chances to make a difference by using safe non-toxic refillable choices. Protect your body and the environment by choosing non-plastic alternatives whenever possible.
Swap your plastic water bottles for stainless steel or aluminum options with no lining, or a BPA-Free lining. Visit www.kabntr.org/store to get your own Plastic Sucks! Klean Kanteen stainless steel and toxic free water bottle.
Many toys and inexpensive jewelry can contain harmful chemicals that can put you at risk. On average a human being touches their face every 45 seconds. People often play with, and place objects in their mouths. (Admit it you probably have had your pen, necklace or some random small object in your mouth at some point today.) PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a soft flexible plastic or vinyl used for toys and many other products. Many companies use PVC to make tethers, bath toys and other toys that young children play with, and often place in their mouths. PVC also releases mercury and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats.
Taking a stand and choosing toys and jewelry made out of quality materials that pass strict guidelines for health and safety can really make a difference. Because of requests from conscientious shoppers, big toy stores now have huge sections dedicated to safe, non-toxic toys and many stores will only carry jewelry and other items that pass safety guidelines. If we can have stores change their buying habits, we can change the way companies produce their products. Companies rarely change product lines for the health and well-being of the consumer, but they will always change, bottom line, if it seems they will sell more. By always opting for safe products from day one, we can make positive change for the future.
VINYL IS ONLY GOOD FOR RECORDS
Avoid plastic wrap in the kitchen but throughout your life as well. Most of the wrapping found on the market is made with plasticizers, also known as PVC. Foods that are wrapped in this plastic absorb the cancer-causing chemicals found in plastic – especially when heated to any degree.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): A plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl that is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its life cycle. When PVC is burned, heated – and even produced – PVC plastic releases dioxins, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.
The most recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico spewed roughly 180 million gallons of oil into the ocean killing countless animals and had an untold effect on our environment. Private companies and government officials are now trying to find alternative energy solutions that use fewer toxic chemicals (or none at all) in response to the pressure and concern of the public. This is for good reason, but the Gulf is not the only place in our environment you can find these toxic chemicals. They are closer than you think…
Petrochemicals from oil are found in literally thousands of household products including plastics. Taking care of the Earth is just as important as taking care of ourselves. The two go hand in hand. DDT and PCBs, two highly polluting petrochemicals that have now been banned in most nations, are highly toxic and bioaccumulative – they continue to persist in the environment long after their use has ceased. Even though DDT has been banned in most countries, it continues to be detected in large quantities in the breast milk of women worldwide. We don’t stand for these toxic chemicals pouring into our oceans, and we shouldn’t put up with these chemicals being distributed into our lives.
LOOK FOR BPA FREE
Look for BPA free products. Aluminum cans including soda, canned fruit, soup, and even organic food cans are still made with an inner plastic coating that contains the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). Through a process called leaching, over time, even brief periods, measurable amounts of BPA are slowly released into the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Bisphenol A (BPA): Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Studies have linked BPA to hormone disruption, increased breast and prostate cancer cell growth, and early onset puberty and obesity.
USE YOUR OWN BAG
Avoid single use plastic bags whenever possible. Bring your own bags to markets, clothing stores and events. There are some that roll up into a little sack that you can carry in your purse or keep in your pocket.
TAKE YOUR OWN CONTAINER FOR TAKE OUT
Styrofoam is made from styrene, a chemical classified by the EPA as a suspected carcinogen and endocrine disruptors. Do not consume foods, beverages, or alcoholic beverages that have come into direct contact with Styrofoam containers; styrene can leach into these substances.
Largely being phased out as a building material, Styrofoam still exists as drinking cups, coolers, and food containers so bring your own container when you go out to eat. It may sound geeky but restaurants shouldn’t be using this non-biodegradable substance anyway.
I HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW!
Phthalates are additives that are widely used in plastics and other materials, mainly to make them flexible, transparent, and durable. Their use is as toxic as they are confusing in the fact that companies don’t have to mention if they use them. They have applications in industry, medicine and consumer products ranging from glues, to paints, to children’s toys. While in the process of being slowly phased out, phthalates can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system. That new car smell, which becomes especially pungent after the car has been sitting in the sun for a few hours, is partly the pungent odor of phthalates being leeched out from a hot plastic dashboard. Choose plastics with the recycling code 1, 2 or 5 to avoid exposure.
New Car Smell
OPT FOR GLASS INSTEAD OF PLASTIC
Avoid microwaving your food in plastic containers, in plastic wrap or in Styrofoam. In the microwave, some chemicals may soak into food from plastics, especially fatty food, cooked at high temperatures. Try choosing ceramic or glass containers instead.
Common plastics include a recycling symbol and a little number 1 through 7 inside – what exactly do those numbers mean though? We’ve often wondered and asked the same question – well here are the answers!
Check out our guide to getting to know your plastics:
First, the most common plastics have a resin code in a chasing arrow symbol most commonly found on the bottom of the product (the arrows do not mean the plastic is recyclable at all by the way).
Very, very generally – 1, 3, 6 are pretty bad – avoid those. Plastics 2, 4, and 5 are generally safe. The 7 category is a catch-all group which includes everything else as well as the corn-based plastics.
1. PETE – Polyethylene Terephthalate – PETE is most often used for cooking oil bottles, soft drink bottles, and peanut butter jars.
2. HDPE – High Density Polyethylene – HDPE is commonly used for milk jugs and detergent bottles.
3. PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride – PVC is used for plastic pipes, water bottles, outdoor furniture, shrink-wrap, liquid detergent containers, and salad dressing containers.
4. LDPE – Low Density Polyethylene – LDPE is often used for trashcan liners, dry-cleaning bags, produce bags, and food storage containers.
5. PP – Polypropylene – PP is used for drinking straws and bottle caps.
6. PS – Polystyrene – PS is used to make packaging pellets, commonly referred to as “Styrofoam peanuts.”
7. OTHER – PC (Polycarbonate): Can leach Bisphenol-A (BPA). It also includes ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), Acrylic, and Polyamide. These plastics can be a safer option because they are typically very durable and resistant to high heat resulting in less leaching. Their drawbacks are that they are not typically recyclable and some need additional safety research. New plant-based, biodegradable plastics like PLA (Polylactic Acid) also fall into the #7 category. 1, 2