How about we consider giving up plastic use in our daily lives? Sounds impossible as plastics play a major role in our daily lives. They are an essential part of our cars, computers, mobile phones, children’s toys and most of everything we use on a day-to-day basis. Our kitchens are a magnet for plastic storage and single use plastic items. The other thing that makes it hard to envision life without plastic items is that they are cheap and easily available.
Great ideas begin at home, we spend most of our time in the comfort of our homes, and most of the time we are in the kitchen either preparing or either putting away food. The food we make in the kitchen determines what kind of life we are going to live and in terms of health. Plastics are a staple of our kitchen environment, and it is time we limit its use or possibly quit them.
Single Use Plastics – Plastic bottles
Single use plastics, or disposable plastics, are plastic materials that are generally used once then thrown away. Examples of these materials are plastic water bottles and plastic bags. These are the two most commonly used plastics in the kitchen that we can do without.
Plastic water bottles are bad for you, and they are bad for the environment because they increase our dependency on fossil fuels. The fact that they have to be manufactured and delivered to a location close to you increases our carbon footprint. If the demand for single use plastic bottles goes down, this would impact the environment in a positive way and decrease our footprint over time. There is also the question of how to dispose of them, as we all know it takes a long time for plastics to decompose.
Try instead: Refrain from using plastic water bottles by purchasing reusable stainless-steel water bottles. This option not only helps reduce plastic waste but also protects you from harm caused by plastics when they seep into the water. Plastic drinking bottles contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals are bisphenol-A also known as BPA which leach into bottles when exposed to heat or when used numerous times.
Straws and Plastic bags
Straws and plastic bags are other single use plastics that we need to get rid of in the kitchen. Plastic bags are bad for the environment and well, they are the most pointless things we use. The solution is to consciously make the effort to always bring your own grocery bag whenever you decide to take a trip to the store.
Straws on the other hand are an unnecessary tool with adverse effects on the environment. Straws are used once and thrown away and the fact that we use straws for drinks is absurd.
Try instead: If there is any need to use a straw we should use stainless-steel straws. Straws, like other plastics, end up in the ocean. Once in the ocean, sea life confuses them for food and end up eating them, leading to starvation due to the difficulty of digesting plastics. Some of the plastics are broken down and end up as micro-organisms in water which fish feed on and are present in the water which we filter for human use. We also end up ingesting these micro plastics when we eat sea food and regular land animals which also consume the water we use.
We live in a world where we are constantly busy and always working, so our time is limited. Pre-packaged food is our go-to accessory to fill us up. Pre-packaged foods create a demand for plastics which are specifically created to store these foods. The food itself has added chemicals to stay good for a long while. The same leaching may happen to the foods, which might lead to negative health effects.
Plastic Storage containers
There are some plastics which may not be single use, but we should also get rid of those from our kitchen. Plastic storage containers are certainly not good for you. Most plastics contain two major elements bisphenol –A(BPA) which is added to make the plastics clear for us to see through them and phthalates is added to make plastics soft and flexible.
Most of us use plastic food containers for storage of excess food and also to carry food to work or as you travel during the day. Food can’t stay hot all day long so reheating is necessary. It is not possible to reheat food on gas cookers at work for safety issues and it’s time consuming. We end up using the microwave to reheat most of our foods. While reheating food in plastic storage containers, the two chemicals BPA and Phthalates migrate or leach into the food we eat. These two have are causes to diseases like cancer, heart disease and others.
Abandon Non-stick pans
Most nonstick pans are know as Teflon, which is simply a brand name for a plastic known as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). PTFE is a fluoropolymer plastic. Fluoropolymers are compounds that contain fluorine. PTFE is only dangerous when it is heated to 500 degrees F. When it does get to this point it starts starts deteriorating, releasing fumes which cause flu symptoms and are bad for birds.
Try instead: Most people won’t cook at those temperatures but either way, stainless steel pans are better and last longer, most non-stick pans always end up spoiling over a short period of time and you end up spending money that could be used in other important areas of your life.
Avoid Plastic Spray bottles
Use vinegar instead! We have an incredibly helpful post on apple cider vinegar hacks – you’ll be amazed at how handy it can be.
Most plastics are bad for our health and the environment. The only way to fix these issues is by just giving up on plastics. As hard as it may seem there are alternatives to plastics. Alternatives to most kitchen plastics and plastic storage are stainless steel products and glass based containers.
If you do have to use plastics, try to limit their use but slowly start migrating from them.