It’s impossible. You can’t really run away from plastic, and you probably don’t even want to: it’s too convenient, too cheap, and sometimes too pretty to avoid. But what you can do is minimize your and your family’s exposure to plastic.
As I mentioned in a previous post, some compounds found in plastic containers, such as Bisphenol A, are known to leach into food and drinks and harm human health. Pregnant women, children and infants are at a higher risk of exposure to these toxins. BPA free plastics are not necessarily safe for us.
You can take very simple and affordable steps to minimize your family’s exposure to plastic, especially when handling food and drinks. Here is what we have done so far:
Avoid tupperware. We mostly use glass containers to store leftovers and bring lunch to work. Yes, they are a little heavier but it really hasn’t been a big deal. Plus if we need to warm our food we can safely use a microwave. (Don’t ever, ever microwave plastic, no matter how “safe” manufacturers claim this is. I’ve consulted with many scientists and they all agree it isn’t.)
Make it fun. We’ve recently become fans of the salad-in-a-jar trend. D has been taking his lunch in mason jars or old pasta sauce jars and he’s loving it. If you haven’t already, Google “salad in a jar.” You’ll find this is no small trend!
Make it nice. I have to say, I simply enjoy a meal better when it’s not served in plastic. Every meal should be a good experience, and re-heated tupperware just doesn’t do it for me.
Start early. Since our lil S was born, just over a year ago, we’ve tried to minimize her contact with plastic. Instead of regular baby bottles, we bought two glass bottles by LifeFactory.
Find what works for you. Instead of buying expensive glass containers marketed for babies (we also found out that some glass containers still have BPA in them, in the liner for the lids), we found the best solution: mini mason jars. I can’t recommend them enough. They’re cheap. They don’t break easily. They are the perfect baby portion. You can boil them, freeze them and stack them, and they come in lots of different sizes. They are honestly the best kept secret when it comes to storing baby food. The only caveat is that the lids can become a little rusty with the constant washing. But they are so cheap, you can afford to buy new ones and keep your old jars for other things, maybe leave them as candle holders.
Avoid packaging. I try, as much as I can, to avoid fresh food packaged in plastic. I always go for the bunch of spinach instead of the boxed kind. I don’t buy bagged peppers. If two similar products come one wrapped in plastic and one in cardboard, I’ll go for the latter. I know this might seem like an exercise in futility, but I like to think every little bit counts. Plus this rule usually means I end up avoiding processed stuff anyway, because my default is to buy fresh, unpackaged food. Now, that’s fodder for a whole new post…
If you have any comments or other ideas on how to stay away from plastic, please do share them!