Plastic is Forever

Plastic and the Planet

Since a few of the upcoming posts I have planned will be mentioning ways in which we have reduced our plastic consumption, I thought now would be a good time to talk about why we would want to stop using plastic. For me, it’s been a long journey that started back in high school when one of my science classes had a group project where we got to choose our own topic. Somehow I convinced a few of my friends to take a trip to our local recycling center and learn about how all of our recyclables were processed. While we were there I learned that plastic can’t be continually recycled like aluminum. I knew that wasn’t good, but I didn’t realize there was more to this story.

Once plastic is thrown “away” it can break down into smaller and smaller pieces (under the right conditions) but it will never actually go “away.” Plastic can degrade but it will never biodegrade. This means that every piece of plastic ever made on this planet is still on the planet with us. I just learned this within the last few months, and since then have become even more diligent about not consuming plastic. Here’s a great video I found through one of my favorite blogs, Life Less Plastic.

Use Less Plastic from TakePart on Vimeo.

Plastic and Your Health

So that’s one reason, but if helping the planet isn’t the best motivator for you there are also the health concerns. Tiny plastic particles in the oceans are ingested by fish and will eventually make it to your plate if you eat fish. Also, you may have seen some plastic bottles and other products labeled BPA-free in the last few years. This is because bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical often used in plastics which has been found to leech from the plastic into your food and drinks. BPA is a hormone distruptor (which means that it acts like a hormone in your body and can disrupt body functions). Scientists are still debating the effects of BPA on your body, but I say, why take a chance? There are also many other chemicals in plastic. Some of which (according to the book I’m reading right now) can leech and be absorbed by your body just from touching them.

While we do still have some plastics in our home, we have been slowly replacing plastic products over the last few years, and do our best to stop any new plastic from entering our home. I have found that using inert and natural materials such as glass, wood and stainless steel is more appealing. Products made from these materials feel better in my hands, last longer and don’t give off any weird smells. Have you ever used plastic storage containers in a closet and then opened the closet door after it was closed for a few days? You might get hit with a whoosh of nasty smelling stuff in that air.

Learn More About Plastic and BPA