Why Choose Plastic-Free?
There is a global action to reduce plastic waste and pollution. Over 380 million tons of plastic are produced every year and over half of the plastic produced every year are single-use plastics. These are alarming numbers because of the high cost to the environment and the impact to animals and human health. Many countries have started to ban single use plastics and over 170 nations have pledged to reduce plastic consumption by 2030.
While plastic is a cheap and versatile solution to many problems, only a small percentage of plastics get recycled and those that end up in the landfill can take hundreds of years to break down. In addition, over 10 million tons of plastics are dumped into the ocean every year. According to researchers, plastic waste flowing into the oceans is projected to more than double by 2040, killing more marine life and entering the human food chain. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports that by 2050, it is estimated that plastic will outnumber fish (by weight).
The Impacts of Plastic on our Health
Everywhere you look, there is plastic. Straws, plastic bags, take out containers, bottles, food storage containers, packaging, toys and a myriad of other products. More and more studies are being done to research the exposure of plastic to our health and whether it’s safe. Researchers have found pieces of microplastics in our food and water. A study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology estimates that humans may be consuming anywhere from 39,000 to 52,000 microplastic particles a year. In addition, when considering that microplastic might be inhaled, that number increases to 74,000 -121,000. And if you drink bottled water? You could be consuming an additional 90,000 microplastics a year compared to if you drink tap water.
Not all plastics are the same, but the most alarming chemicals in plastics are phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). Both are endocrine disrupters, which are substances that interfere with human hormones. Studies have linked both these chemicals to infertility. In addition, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral issues and more. Another large, well-conducted study showed that people who had high levels of BPA in the urine had a higher rate diabetes, heart disease and liver toxicity.
Plastic food containers transfer bits of plastic into our food. This process is known as “leaching”. Heating food in the plastic containers seems to increase the amount of plastic that is transferred to the food, so you may be getting a higher dose of potentially harmful chemicals whenever you heat your food in the microwave. This can also happen if you leave a water bottle in a hot car.
Some food storage containers use glass but still have plastic tops. This is why we created these glass containers with bamboo lids. Our mission is to provide a completely plastic free option. They are made from high quality borosilicate glass and the bamboo lids uses a silicone ring to seal the container.
The Impacts of Plastic on our Environment and Wildlife
Plastic pollution is one of the biggest problems facing our world. Unlike food scraps, plastic products do not undergo decomposition, biodegradation, or composting. It takes hundreds of years to break down. For example, a water bottle can take 450 years to decompose in a landfill!
Plastic breaks down through a process called photodegradation, where the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun breaks down the plastic into smaller and smaller pieces over time. These small plastic pieces eventually become microplastics, which can be mistaken for food by marine animals and wildlife. Once these are consumed by the marine animals, they eventually are consumed by humans as it moves through the food chain. These microplastics can also travel to our drinking water as well.
A study published by Science Advances found that only 9% of the world’s plastic gets recycled!! The rest are accumulating in landfills and oceans. Many animals are killed each year due to suffocation or entanglement from plastic or from ingesting the plastic. Dead beach whales have been found with stomachs full of plastic. Studies have found that 100% of sea turtles, 59% of whales, 40% of seabird species, and 35% of seals that were examined were affected by the plastic pollution.
How can you reduce your plastic consumption?
- Avoid plastics whenever you can, especially single use plastics like straws, plastic bags, cups, etc. Today, it’s so easy to get metal or glass straws, reusable cups, water bottles, bags and more!
- Bring your own re-useable bag when you do your grocery shopping. A plastic bag gets about 15 minutes of use but takes years to break down. You can also bring your own produce bags as well.
- Use only glass containers to store your food. When you get take-out, request to see if you can use your own glass containers. When you take food on the go, bring your own utensils so you can avoid using plastic utensils
- Buy in bulk. A lot of packaging comes in plastic, so you can reduce some of the plastic consumption to help eliminate some of the waste. Also – look for items that have plastic free packaging.
- Re-use your plastic. Find a way to repurpose the plastic so that it does not need to go into the recycling bins. Use for crafts, to store non-food items, etc
- Make those around you aware of the importance of reducing the consumption of plastic
We use plastic in our everyday life, so it will be impossible to avoid it completely. However, together, we can join the global fight against plastic waste and pollution by doing some of these things and encouraging friends and family to do so.