Knowledge is power and once we know better, we should probably try and do better. Now that we know the answer to the great Paper or Plastic? debate, lets learn a little more about plastic so we can make some better choices with it.
Before I start talking about the crazy amount of plastic pollution in our landfills or the health dangers plastic poses, I thought we should start off on a good plastic note. The history and invention of plastic is very interesting and the reason why it was invented is very dear to this animal lover's heart. You see, plastic came about as an alternative to elephant's ivory, tortoiseshell and horn. And plastic bags were a successful alternative to paper shopping bags in an effort to save trees back when they were mainstreamed.
Plastic really is awesome when you think about it, and its qualities are amazing. But, as with anything cheap and convenient, it comes with a price. Plastic is made from fossil fuels and is not biodegradable, our landfills are full of it. Our oceans are full of plastic, too. Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It's a HUGE mass of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas. And plastic poses a health threat as well. Additives that go into plastic during the manufacturing process, such as BPA, leach into our bodies, food and water. And the alternatives they use instead of BPA are possibly even more harmful than BPA. It is estimated that 90% of our adult population has chemicals from plastics in their bodies. What about our kids? Our babies? Scary.
I now know enough to be certain of two things. One, we want to rid our home of plastic. Two, we cannot possibly rid our home completely of plastic. There's too much and it's everywhere. But we can try! We can get rid of the plastic that comes in direct contact with our food and water. We can get rid of the plastic that we know emits chemicals in our home. And we can choose reusable shopping bags instead of paper or plastic.
We've already started what we're calling the Plastic Purge in our home. It was inspired by a book written by Mike SanClements. Over the weekend, we purged our plastic cups, plates, food storage containers, utensils and shopping bags. We are replacing them with non-plastic kitchenware. I ordered most of the replacement items on Amazon, and the SSL Family Dad went through my shopping cart to make sure everything was made in the USA. If you want something REALLY challenging to do on a Friday night, try ordering kitchen gear not made with any plastic parts and made in the U.S.A.
Once I started looking into non-plastic alternatives, I was shocked at how many options there are if I just looked hard enough. We are also doing away with Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. Later on, I will be sharing just what we're going to be using now instead of plastic, what we purchased on Amazon, as well as some items we picked up at our local thrift shop. We have talked about this for a very long time and are very excited for these changes in our home.
For those of you who were like me about two years ago, thinking this is a bit extreme, I ask you to keep an open mind and ask questions. Don't just take my word for it, find out for yourself what is best for you and your family. Almost always, the fastest and cheapest route is usually not the best, healthiest or safest option.