Monday, August 4, 2008

Replace Your Plastics!

Do you have a lot of plastic in your environment? Your house, your place of work? Here are some ways to remove plastics from your life and prevent them from causing toxic damage to your health and the environment:
  • Replace plastic cutting boards with glass, ceramic, bamboo, or wood. You can cut and prepare foods such as meats and cheese on glass so that any bacteria can easily be washed off and does not absorb. Clean your wood or bamboo cutting boards sparingly to prevent softening and cracking of materials, and use a small amount of mineral oil on your boards if they start to dry out or crack after washing.
  • Replace plastic wraps, bags, and other similar items in your kitchen to as large an extent as possible with paper, tin foil, or wax/parchment paper. Organize your vegetables in the pull-out drawer in your refrigerator so that you have a sheet of tin foil on the bottom of your drawer, and just place your vegetables on top of one another in the drawer without plastic bags. You'll find that vegetables keep longer, don't develop condensation nearly as quickly, and won't absorb dangerous toxins from the plastic. Make certain to remove any moldy or rotting vegetables that might be on the bottom of your pile and clean out your drawer by washing with soap and water. Dry with a clean kitchen towel and replace your sheet of tin foil with a new one. Place smaller items like baby carrots or radishes in small glass bowls in your vegetable drawer on top of stacked vegetables to keep separated.
  • Use paper, cotton, or canvas bags for carrying or storing instead of plastic.
  • Recycle glass bottles and jars for drinking beverages and stop purchasing and drinking beverages sold in plastic bottles. The smaller varieties in which ice teas and juice are sold are ideal for packing lunches, taking on picnics, walks, bike rides, or to work.
  • Store your foods in the refrigerator on or in glass, wood, ceramic, or other non-toxic containers. Cover your foods with tin foil.
  • Reconsider your need for piles and piles of plastic toys for children. Discard plastic toys and other similar items and replace with wooden toys. Children are particularly vulnerable to absorbing toxins through their skin from plastic toys because their bodies are still developing and growing. These toxins can adversely affect endocrine, nervous, and reproductive function.
  • Replace all and everything used for babies that is plastic (if possible) with something metal, glass, or wood. Although convenient, plastic used in baby bottles, dishes, and other items are especially dangerous for infants due to the reasons discussed above and should be avoided at all costs.
  • Reduce or eliminate the amount of products you purchase in plastic containers around your house such as household cleaners and personal care products. Consider making your own cleaners and personal care items from ingredients you have in your home. Store in glass containers with pumps for easy use.
Think about all the things you use in your daily life and ask yourself whether or not you can replace those made of plastic with a safer alternative. In many cases, wood, metal, and glass are outstanding alternatives. Try to make these replacements over time instead of all at once to cut down on expenses. If you take good care of your household items that you've used to replace the plastic ones, you should not find yourself replacing them too often.

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