This post was kindly sponsored by EarthHero, a company that promotes a healthy planet by supporting sustainable companies.
My kitchen is a ridiculous amalgamation of for-real bought items, second-hand buys, and stuff I’ve likely picked out of my neighbors’ recycling bin. While I do still have some plastic in my kitchen, most of it has been phased out because of my zero waste efforts.
And because of health concerns.
I don’t talk too much about the health effects of plastic use too much just because I don’t feel educated enough about the topic and I think other reasons are just as compelling. Non-plastic storage options are more environmentally friendly and more durable, ie. budget-friendly in the long run.
But in this post we’re going to touch on the health effects of plastic and food – and how EarthHero can help you figure out exactly what you need (without having to worry about greenwashing).
So what’s the problem with plastic and food?
I have an exciting post coming up very soon all about the different types of plastics, what they are, and how they interact with us humans. But before that goes live, I’d like to give you the long and short of Laura’s highly-informative post:
Plastics aren’t inherently bad. Plastic packaging helps prevent food waste and, in some cases, has a smaller environmental footprint than other materials because of their energy efficient production and light weight. Their harm comes from their persistence in the environment, short usage time, such as with single-use plastic utensils, and leaching of harmful compounds from food and water contact materials, like Tupperware and Styrofoam containers.
That leaching she talks about? Various plastics – many of which are used in food – have been shown to leach chemicals with estrogenic activity (EA). These chemicals are a common form of endocrine disruptors which seem to point toward potential health risks with frequent or prolonged exposure.
As one study found, “Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled… leached chemicals having reliably detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA free.” (source) Basically, a vast majority of the plastic packaging available in stores leaks these endocrine disruptors into the food it’s supposed to protect. Naturally, that leads to the conclusion that we need to move away from plastic when talking food storage.
If not for the environment, then for our health.
This doesn’t mean we should trash all the plastic in our house. Consider, instead, repurposing your plastic storage items for non-food storage instead!
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What are the alternatives to plastic food storage?
Luckily, there are plenty of options for alternative food storage, that not only reduce the potential risk that plastic poses, but are also more durable! Whether you choose the elegance of glass or something silicone or stainless steel, you’ll get value for money as they functionally outlast plastic options.
Handily enough, EarthHero provides a list of their sustainable features, so you can see immediately what each product offers. From recycled to organic content to renewable resources and more, you can know from just looking at an icon what you’re supporting.
Here are just a few of the items I use daily in my own kitchen now that I’ve moved away from plastic storage:
- Instead of plastic tupperware, try stainless steel containers or glass bowls. These are great for items you’ll be storing in the fridge since they’re larger, although I do bring the smaller Klean Kanteen containers to work with me since they can take a beating, even if they end up at the bottom of your backpack.
- Instead of ziploc bags, try Stasher bags or fabric snack bags. I’m personally a huge fan of the Stasher bags; despite their high initial cost, they’re extremely durable and will outlast any plastic sealed bag you’ve ever had. They’re great for taking snacks on the go since the bags themselves are super light.
- Instead of BPA-free plastic water bottles, try a stainless steel option instead. Feel confident that your freshly-brewed hot coffee or tea isn’t melting the insides of your water bottle. A Kleen Kanteen insulated travel mug is great for hot or cold drinks.
- Instead of plastic cutlery while eating out, try putting a set of bamboo utensils in your bag. I resisted the bamboo utensils for a long time, but when you walk as much as I do, every little bit of saving weight is important! They’re also an awesome talking point for people since they’re so unique.
If any of these items look like they’d be a useful addition to your kitchen arsenal, use code GREENINDY for 15% your next purchase at EarthHero.