Happy Plastic-Free February!
Our family has taken up the Rodale.com challenge. I wrapped Emma’s sandwich in toxin-free waxed paper this morning. I was wishing I had a ribbon handy to tie a bow on it, but by that time we would have missed the bus. Alas, the bread, ham, cheese and alfalfa sprouts all came from plastic containers, but I did buy them in January. Truth be told it was January 31st for the ham. I bought milk in a plastic jug then too, but I did debate it. I had to choose between non-organic in a returnable glass bottle or organic in plastic. I chose organic. I am sure I would have been won over had the bottle displayed a label stating that the cows were allowed to roam freely in pasture. This month, though, I will have to plan better, and planning isn’t really one of my strengths.
Rodale.com tells us that plastic is bad because “It's made from either petroleum or natural gas, two non-renewable resources extracted in ways that pollute our air and water. Plastic manufacturers add chemicals to certain types of plastics that can be highly toxic, like bisphenol A and phthalates. And very few types of plastic are widely recycled.” On that note, rather than banning incandescent light bulbs (which I just discovered our province has banned and I strongly disagree because of the mercury content of fluorescent light bulbs – I have no idea how I am now going to light my plastic-free home), I believe all packaging that cannot be recycled in the region in which it is marketed should be banned. Plastic tops the list because will never, ever, ever break down in the landfill and it is known to contain pseudo-estrogens which will leak into the groundwater beneath the landfill and eventually cause cancer and other health problems for people and animals alike. I have been consciously trying to store leftovers in glass jars and choosing glass over plastic (and over cans) when I make a purchase, although the decision is often clouded when the organic option is only available in plastic. But now, thanks to Rodale, we have rules! Don’t worry – there are only 3!
1. No buying or acquiring new plastic.
2: No cooking with plastic or storing food in plastic.
3: Minimize all other plastic use.
Here are some tips I have already come up with:
Always keep reusable shopping bags in your car and the cars of your spouse and children. You never know when you might get the urge to shop!
Toss all of your reusable plastic containers in the recycling box so that no one in your family will be tempted to use them.
Save and reuse wide-mouth jars and lids and haul out your summer canning equipment for more storage, if need be.
Buy only Perrier or San Pellegrino (I love Perrier and San Pellegrino) if you are out and thirsty and forgot your stainless steel water bottle. (You may be about to add that asking for water in a cup would be a better choice, but I have health concerns about the chemical toxins in non-filtered tap water)
I invite you to join me, take up the challenge, and share your own tips. Free is fabulous!