2018 is rapidly emerging as the year when we wage a war upon plastic. This is hugely positive news for both the environment, and for our health. Here at NatureDoc we have long been advocates of reducing our exposure to plastic, both in terms of reducing our toxic load and being kinder to the environment. Here we’ve pulled together our top tips for plastic free living.
A growing evidence base tells us that plastic can negatively impact on our health, with a particular concern regarding Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates which can break down over time and leach from plastics used in cooking and food/drink storage and other means posing a risk to health. Bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates and other plasticisers are known as endocrine-disruptors for their potential to disrupt hormones in the body. This is of particular concern for both men and women wishing to conceive, pregnant & breastfeeding women, teens (with concerns relating to early onset puberty) and of course for babies and children.
In addition to their potential implications for our health, plastics pose a huge problem for our environment. Did you realise that each day we throw away 7 million coffee cups and almost none of these can be recycled? Every day we buy 35.8 million water bottles and a massive 16 million of these end up in landfill and ultimately, our seas. With scientists estimating that plastic can take up to 1,000 years to break down which is deeply alarming. We strongly encourage you to carefully reconsider changes you can make, specifically regarding single used plastic items.
We appreciate however going plastic free isn’t always easy, so we have put together our guide with top tips for each area of your life:
Around 160 million teabags are thrown away every day in the UK and many of us are unaware that shockingly teabags are made with polypropylene (a type of plastic). This means that the majority of teabags we dispose of are not biodegradable. Opt for loose leaf tea if you can (which also tastes delicious) or choose more ethical brands such as Pukka, Teapigs and Clipper that use corn starch to make their teabags.
Where possible, replace cling film in your kitchen with beeswax wraps. Not only are they reusable and biodegradable, the beeswax in the paper also has useful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.They will also look gorgeous in your fridge, and smell divine. They also make ideal gifts for friend and family.
Many health food shops offer refillable washing up liquid and washing powder by ranges such as Ecover and Faith in Nature. This means you can reuse the existing bottles and when empty, simply take them along to be refilled along next time you go shopping. Alternatively, rather than disposing of your empty plastic bottles, buy soap in bulk online then simply decant the product into glass mason jars. This is also a much more economical way to shop. We love Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap which can be used for just about anything and everything in the home.
Choose wooden washing up brushes and vegetable brushes rather than plastic ones. Not only do they look great, but are also much kinder to both you and the environment.
- Take care when choosing your sanitary products carefully as many of the big brand names are not only wrapped in plastic, but the products themselves contain plastic. For plastic-free tampons & sanitary pads we love the fab TOTM range, 100% biodegradeable organic cotton tampons, free from chemical pesticides, fertilisers, chlorine or perfume.
- Invest in a metal razor rather than the disposable plastic varieties. They also tend to be much more effective.
- Decide to give up your relationship with plastic toothbrushes forever and opt for much healthier and environmentally friendly bamboo toothbrushes for all the family.
- As with your kitchen products, refill plastic bottles where possible or choose soap bars (such as Dr Bronner) wrapped in paper as they last for ages, and also do not use any plastic.
- Please also do not purchase any products containing microbeads (tiny beads of plastic) and opt for biodegradable wet wipes such as Natracare or Attitude.
- Send your children to school with stainless steel water bottles, rather than plastic ones.
- Store snacks and packed lunches and snacks in handy metal containers rather than plastic.
- These brilliant insulated lunch bags provide a great alternative to plastic lunch boxes for school and weekend outings.
- Children enjoy coloured and interesting tableware, with many plastic options available on the market. We love these non-toxic, organic bamboo plates, bowls and spoons which are sure to bring a smile to your little’s one’s face.
- Opt for Bamboo toothbrushes for your little ones, we love these by Woobamboo.
- Choose nappy brands such as Naty or Kit & Kin which made using non-toxic organic cotton so are not only kinder on little bottoms and are also biodegradeable.
4. ON THE GO
- Keep an attractive tote bag folded up in your handbag and another in your car to have on hand when out shopping. This will prevent the need to request a plastic bag for your purchases.
- Say no thank you to receipts. Did you realise that receipts are coated in a thin layer of plastic? Therefore not only are they a nasty source of potentially hormone disrupting BPA, but are also not recyclable.
- Ditch plastic water bottles for reusable options such as this stylish stainless steel bottle which comes with a lifetime guarantee and keeps bottles either cool or warm when out and about.
- Swap your daily takeaway tea coffee cup for your own stylish reusable cup for use when you are out and about. Many coffee shops now offer a discount to those providing their own cups.
- Say no to unnecessary plastic cutlery when out and about. Take your own metal ones from home, or opt for biodegradable bamboo options where possible.
The NatureDoc Shop has plenty of carefully selected clever alternatives to help you reduce your plastic use and make the change towards healthier living. Look out for our next blog post in this series with top tips for reducing your toxic exposure beyond plastics in the home.
- Landrigan PJ, Miodovnik A. Children’s health and the environment: an overview. Mt Sinai J Med. 2011 Jan-Feb;78(1):1–10. [PubMed]
- Caserta D, Mantovani A, Marci R, et al. Environment and women’s reproductive health. Hum Reprod Update. 2011 May-Jun;17(3):418–433
- Meeker JD, Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH. Phthalates and other additives in plastics: human exposure and associated health outcomes. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Jul 27;36 (1526):2097–2113.
- Braun JM, Hauser R. Bisphenol A and children’s health. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2011 Apr;23(2):233–239.
- Korrick SA, Sagiv SK. Polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides and neurodevelopment. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2008 Apr;20(2):198–204
- Boas M, Feldt-Rasmussen U, Main KM. Thyroid effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Mol Cell Endocrinol. Sep 10;