Monday, October 16, 2017

Tips for the #NOPLASTICCHALLENGE

Photo Credit: National Geographic


(every day we will be adding to our story with the Tip of the day for using less plastic! )


This week we are joining @Yourzenmama,  @mind_and_motion and @green4ema in a no plastic challenge ( #noplasticchallengeoct16 )!  Every day will be offering tips on how to reduce plastics in your everyday life and why.

One of the main reasons?  Our kiddos are watching.   As moms and dads we have the power to form the next generation's relationship with plastic and with our Earth.  If they grow up in a house that does not abuse plastics, that consciously opts for safer more sustainable alternatives,  then it will become second nature for them to grow up into adults that do not abuse plastics.  

 Imagine if we are able to raise a generation that uses less plastic?!  It would be huge:  our children and our grandchildren will reap the benefits not only of a healthier less polluted planet but of a healthier less polluted body.   All it takes is for us to shift our mindset and habits about plastic.

Let's start today!



(by the way if you are curious about just how bad plastics can be for your health read our past post entitled 'Anatomy of the Perfect Sippy' and remember: scientists have recently found that even the most stable plastics seem to have endocrine disrupting abilities )

Day 01:  HOW TO USE LESS PLASTIC IN THE GROCERY STORE
Buying plastic free at the supermarket can be somewhat  challenging-  but there are small changes you can make that can decrease your plastic exposure and use.  Remember: small changes add up and will benefit the Planet and your health!
  • choose loose vegetables instead of those prepackaged in plastic bags
  • take your own reusable produce bags to the store (like the ones listed at the end of
    this story), use brown paper produce bags if they are available (like those pictured) or simply keep your produce loose instead of having to place all in individual plastic baggies
  • if buying cold cuts, cheeses, poultry or meat consider getting them over the counter where the staff can package it for you in paper instead of purchasing prepackaged (in plastic)  deli meats, poultry and other meats and fishes 
  • Consider purchasing dairy products like milk that come in glass containers or tetrapacks instead of plastic
  • Opt for sauces or toppings like ketchup and mustard that come in glass containers instead of plastic
  • avoid individually packaged foods (like crackers, cookies etc) and instead buy larger bags 
  • Take your own bags to the supermarket, farmers market or any store for that matter!
  • buy food in bulk (and bring your own glass containers or reusable bags)

DAY 02
We are in Day two of the #NOplasticchallengeoct16 and today we have tips for reducing your plastic exposure in the kitchen.   

Plastics can be especially harmful when they come into contact with food.  All plastics have estrogenic capabilities (the ability to mimick the hormone estrogen)- some give off these endocrine disruptive chemicals easier than others..... but most do when exposed to heat.   

Reducing your plastic usage in the kitchen is actually really easy and just requires a shift in 

- replace (ideally recycle) old plastic food storage containers and invest in a glass set in different sizes
- replace plastic cups and dishes(even those for children) and instead switch to items made of glass, wood, stainless steel, bamboo, silicone
- never expose plastic containers to heat (by reheat food, by placing hot food inside them nor by placing in the dishwasher
- don't buy plastic cling wrap, instead use cheese clothes or bees wrap to cover/wrap  food (or aluminum foil as a second option)
- consider reusable sandwich bags in lieu of ziplock plastic baggies for daily use




- If you don't feel like doing the dishes consider recycled paper plates and cups instead of plastic plates

Also, consider this:  when plastics we use end up in the ocean, fish either get tangled in them or ingest them.  This is the same fish we all eat when we cook fish or enjoy sushi......



DAY 03 




As a country we have a caffeine obsession.  How many coffees do you drink a day?  How many of those do you drink on-the-go, purchased at your local coffee house (or made in an office) and drunk out of a disposable cup? 

Quite possible one of the most overlooked, often daily, plastic usage is actually the daily usage of disposable coffee cups and lids.  Such a small, seemingly inoffensive item  (yes that is me holding my disposable coffee cup)  is exposing you to plastic and piling up in landfills - because 

plastic coffee cups  
are not recyclable 
due to a thin plastic liner they have inside  
WHAT?!  I actually did not know about this plastic liner and swore they were all being recycled!!

Starbuck alone, distributes more than 4 billion single-use cups a year ( thats 1 million trees cut down to provide the paper) .  If you purchases/use a disposable cup of coffee every day, this creates about 23 pounds of waste per year.... waste that includes plastic that will not biodegrade. 


It doesn't end there: 

Disposable Coffee Lids are also an issue.  10 years ago it was estimated that a billion and a half plastic lids were used each year in the US (and I am sure that number has probably gone up since in the last 10 years many new coffee cafes have opened around the country.)  The bad news is that garbage haulers do not accept plastic lids in curbside recycling bin - so these are not getting recycled either.

WHAT TO DO: 

  • Try bringing your own cup/mug to your local coffee shop (some places give you a small discount if you bring your own mug).   
  • If you have to carry out coffee, consider not using a lid (but, of course, be careful not to burn yourself)
  • At the office have a reusable mug you can use.
  • No matter what stay away from styrofoam cups!
  • Encourage your local coffee house and offices to offer completely biodegradable and compostable cups and 

DAY 5:  Avoiding Plastic in TOys


This is our last day of the #NOplasticchallengeoct16 - we hope our tips have helped you make small (or big!) changes at home!

Today- let's talk about plastics in our kids toys.   As we head into the holidays I am sure most parents will head over to any major toy retailer (online or in a real store) and you will see row after row of fun, but plastic, toys.   Many new parents find it daunting to avoid the slow takeover of plastic in the playroom..... however I am here to remind you that - while plastic toys might be hard to completely avoid (especially as kids grow older)   you as a parent do have control about what you purchase for your child ... and today there are some amazing developmental and FUN toys available made of natural materials like wood and bamboo.   


First thing is first:  Why should we avoid toys and how should we do this?
-  FYI: In the US, toys are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Comission (CPSC).  They enforce basic federal standards that include sharp points or edges, small parts that children could swallow, and lead in paint. Unfortunately,however, toys are not tested for safety before they are put on toy shelves for sale. 



- Remember:  babies and little kids still place toys in their mouths.  The only way to ensure they are not exposing themselves to endocrine disrupting chemicals often found in plastic toys (not to mention other chemicals that are common in toys like lead and cadmium etc) is by purchasing high quality natural material based toys.  

What chemicals are we most worried about when talking about plastic toys?

  1. PVC or vinyl (#3 in the recycle triangle) is a soft flexible plastic.  Phthalates are chemicals found in soft plastics (they leach out of PVC products) and are also used to add fragrance to products.  Basically anything that smells artifically has phthalates and most soft plastic toys (including teethers) do too.  Why should you avoid this?  Phthlalates are  known endocrine (hormone) disruptor associated with liver and kidney lesions, a higher risk of certain cancers, and may exacerbate asthma and allergies in children.
  2. BPA  BPA is a chemical used to make hard mostly transparent plastics.  BPA in the US is now illegal in BABY products made for eating (bottles, pacifiers), however the alternative chemicals being used have not been tested for safety, so when a product or even a toy says "BPA free"  you should remain cautious.  
BPA is a especially dangerous endocrine disruptor since even small amounts of this chemical have been shown to cause serious reproductive damage, especially when the exposure occurs in utero. Exposure may cause prostate cancer, breast cancer, female infertility, and obesity.

HOW TO AVOID
  • - avoid plastic toys when possible.   Even when they say 'BPA free"
  • - As your child grows, you will find it is close to impossible to avoid plastic toys all together.  At this point just remain vigilant and throw the toy out when it becomes worn or when the clear plastic becomes cloudy
  • - aviod placing plastic toys in the sun 
  • - if your child is placing a plastic toy in his/her mouth try to hand over a safer less toxic option
  • - discourage play with cheap plastic toys (the kind that come home often after a birthday party etc)
  • - avoid soft plastic toys.  If it smells like plastic its bad for you.  Choose soft toys made out of organic fabric or natural rubber or even silicon in a better option
  • - Books are usually a great gift option for kids of all ages, but try to avoid plastic books made for water or photos since those soft plastic pages have phthalates.  
  • - For girls who like dolls, avoid dolls and plastic purses (let your nose be the guide.  If it smells like plastic it is bad
  • - when the holidays or birthdays approach consider sending out a wish list to family members  including safe, non-toxic toys of all price ranges.  This will make shopping easier for family members who mean well but might not know where to turn to buy non-toxic toys.




SHOP THE STORY
Simple Ecology Organic Cotton Muslin Produce Bag - Set of 6 (2 each of Lg., Med. & Sm.)
Bee's Wrap 3 Piece Sustainable Reusable Food Storage Assorted

Glass Food Storage Container Set - Blue - 18 Pieces set (9 containers and 9 lids) - Reusable - Multipurpose Use for Home Kitchen or Restaurant - BPA free - by Utopia Kitchen

Stainless Steel Cups - Family Set of 4 Drinking Tumblers, 2 Sizes - Great for Kids, Pint Cup by SeaTurtle

ezpz Mini Mat - One-piece silicone placemat + plate (Coral)

Petits Et Maman Kids' Wood Plate, Car

Premium Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Bowls For Baby Toddler Kids Snacks 4 Pack


Bumkins Reusable Snack Bag Large, Confetti

Hape All Seasons Kid's Wooden Doll House Furnished with Accessories


Plan Toys City Series Logging Truck

Plan City Road Construction Set


Finn + Emma Natural Wood and Organic Cotton Teething Ear for Baby Boy or Girl - Tribal Print

HABA Kringelring Wooden Baby Rattle Clutching Toy & Teether (Made in Germany)

Hevea Panda Teether

Playful HEVEA Non-Toxic, Natural Rubber Pond Trio Bath Toys, Highly hygienic, Plastic-Free

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