Apr 7th – Avoid all plastic wrapped food today.

This may be one of the more challenging changes, today!

The purpose of this One Change is more about awareness and starting to look for alternatives in how you purchase your food and taking a moment to think about how it is packaged.  An incredible amount of our food is packaged in plastic, it can be hard to avoid, but give this a shot for today.

There are several reasons to cut-down, and even better, eliminate plastic for our food packaging:  Health concerns over plastics leaching into the food, including BPA, the amount of plastic that end up in our oceans, the energy and environmental concerns to manufacture the incredible amount of plastic needed, and while it can be recycled, it still takes money, energy and resources to recycle it… energy, money and resources that would not be needed if we didn’t need the food packaging in the first place.

Ways to find food without the plastic

  • Go to your Farmer’s Market where most foods are not pre-packaged
  • Find items sold in bulk or have no packaging at your grocery store.  Bring your own reusable bags and containers to transport it home.
  • Go to a bakery or other special stores such as produce stands and butchers where items are baked or sold fresh and are not pre-packaged, again, bring your own reusable packaging.
  • Find items packaged in more sustainable materials
  • Treat yourself to a prepared meal where it is served on a plate for you and needs no plastic packaging (it may have been packaged in plastic at one point, but was most likely bulk packaged, which helps)

On an added note, there should always be a code on the bottom of your plastic item with a number between 1 and 7 inside a recycle triangle.  Below is Environmental Working Group’s explanation of the plastics to avoid:

  • Stay away from toys marked with a “3” or “PVC” (PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, commonly called vinyl). PVC is often mixed with phthalates, a toxic additive that makes plastic more flexible. While phthalates were recently banned in new children’s toys, they may be in toys made before February 2009 when the ban went into effect, as well as in shower curtains, inflatable beach toys, raincoats and toys for children older than 12.
  • Avoid polycarbonate containers (sometimes marked with a #7 or “PC”). These plastics are rigid and transparent, like plastic food storage containers and water bottles, among other things. Trace amounts of BPA can migrate from these containers, particularly if used for hot food or liquids. Soft or cloudy-colored plastic does not contain BPA.A recent study from Harvard University found that college students drinking their cold drinks from polycarbonate bottles had 93% more BPA in their bodies than during the weeks that they drank liquids from other containers.We recommend the use of glass and ceramic instead of plastics. When you have no choice, plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4, or 5 don’t contain BPA and may be better choices.

They also go on to discuss “How to handle plastics:  Don’t microwave food or drinks in plastic containers — even if they claim to be “microwave safe.” Heat can break down plastics and release chemical additives into your food and drink. Microwaves heat unevenly, creating hot spots where the plastic is more likely to break down… “

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