Nowadays, plastics are part and parcel of every day life. Everyone vaguely knows that plastics aren’t great but they plod along buying plastic water bottles every day, drinking out of plastic cups, wrapping their food up in plastic packaging, brushing their teeth with plastic toothbrushes, carrying their shopping in plastic bags. The list goes on and on. Everything is plastic and we don’t even realise. There are however, some things you can do to combat the issues that plastic presents. Below is a list of risks plastics pose and a few simple changes you can implement to improve your health and your environmental footprint.
Negative effects of plastic
- Gender Bending has been shown to be prevalent in boys who drink from plastic bottles. If you want to avoid becoming a feminised male I’d suggest keeping away from drinking out of your 29p water bottle from now on.
- Cancer has been shown to be associated with continual exposure to plastics. Keep away from consuming things from plastic containers and putting plastic in your mouth if you want a lower risk of cancer.
- Lowered libido is a common side effect of repeated exposure to plastic. Each generation has had significantly lower testosterone than the last, which coincides perfectly with the rise in plastic consumption. If you want to keep up your drive to procreate then limit your plastics brother.
- Increased fat gain has been shown time and time again to be associated with the increased plastic use of today. If you don’t want a spare tyre then ditch the plastic, simple.
- Environmental destruction is last but certainly not last. Most plastic produced in the world today is used just once (think bottled water, food packaging, cellophane & disposable cutlery). This contributes to polluted oceans, overflowing landfills and a dying Earth. Limit your consumption of plastic, in particular disposable plastic, if you want to be the difference.
What you can do;
- Change your every day water bottle. By changing your bottle to a stainless steel or glass bottle you are reducing the amount of plastic water bottles you buy and dispose of every day and you are also minimising plastic contact with your mouth. I use The Corkcicle, which keeps your drink ice cold for over a day and looks sleek as well. You can get them relatively cheap here.
- Get a bamboo toothbrush. I use this toothbrush which is bio-degradable and so can be recycled once you’ve finished using it. They are extremely cheap and using them again, minimises plastic contact with the mouth.
- Get a bag for life. If you get yourself a bag for life you stop yourself from constantly getting new plastic bags which just end up getting shoved under your kitchen sink, thus saving yourself 5p every shop and doing your bit to reduce plastic production and consumption – good for you. I picked this bag for life up from my local store LIV Organic who also have an online store you can check out here.
- Upgrade your cooking utensils. This is a massive one, get rid of your horrible Teflon pans and plastic spatulas. These are the worst offenders when it comes to carcinogen release, plus who wants melted spatula bits in their dinner? Get wooden or stainless steel utensils like a wooden spoon, steel ladle and a steel spatula. On top of that, get yourself a cast iron skillet to actually cook your meals in and these basics should see you through the majority of the time.
- Upgrade your food containers. Who doesn’t love Tupperware? If you’re even slightly into prepping your meals or fitness in general, you’ll be familiar with these little gems. However, most of the time they absorb colour and smell from your meals and over time they go grotty, meaning you’ll probably throw them out, contributing to the plastic graveyards we see today. Not only this, but when people microwave their meals in these plastic containers, the carcinogens in the Tupperware leak into your food and you ingest this – yum. To combat this I recommend having a complete overhaul of your Tupperware. Either buy glass Pyrex lunch boxes or if you’ve got a bit extra, go for stainless steel. The only real option I have found here in the UK is a company called Elephant Box, their containers are amazing and I own a fair few. Whilst on the pricey side, they are very good quality and will last you. Just beware, you can’t microwave stainless steel, but you can put it in the oven. If none of these seem like a possibility to you then just put your food in the plastic containers but don’t heat up the meals within.
These next few steps are potentially some of the most tedious extremes you can go to in order to avoid plastic but if you’re feeling up to it, why not give it a go?
- Storage boxes. Instead of storing your things in big cheap, easily breakable plastic boxes, why not try and source a couple of wooden ones? They look much cooler and constant interaction with them won’t harm your hormonal health. I managed to find one with my birth year on – bonus.
- Pens. Get yourself a quality pen. Not only does it make you appear more professional than using a cracked little biro, it stops your holding (and maybe chewing?) a toxic plastic tube all day. I bought myself a Parker pen online and I believe it to be one of my better investments.
- Razors. How many people do you know that use disposable, awful quality razors they bought from a pound shop? I would wager most of the men (and some of the hairer ladies) you know do. Either invest in a quality straight or safety razor if you’ve got the stones. If not, like myself, then go for a cornerstone razor. They offer a stainless steel handle with your initials engraved and some heads to get you started. Best shave I’ve ever had, hands down and it’s pretty cheap as well.
- Coat hangers. If you still have flimsy plastic hangers that don’t really fit the shoulders of your clothes then you need to grow up! You don’t have to be fancy here, I bought 25 wooden hangers for £10 and they actually fit the shoulders on my clothes so my stuff isn’t misshapen and creased. It also stops the constant throwing out of hangers that contribute to our plastic waste problem. Not to mention, it looks much better than having 38 different types of yellow, blue and red plastic hangers in your wardrobe.
These are just some of the dangers of plastics, there are many many more which I suggest you look at and make up your own mind. I do believe however, that these are easily implemented steps that will help you in every day life and I urge you to give them a try at least once.
Quick disclaimer, all the products mentioned above I have no affiliation with, these are just the things I use and recommend.