I recently wrote a blog post about a study featured in CNN that warns consumers that even BPA-free plastic is bad for your health. After writing and researching for that post, I looked around my apartment, my bathroom and my kitchen with new eyes. I had plastic everywhere. My reusable water bottle, food containers, and frozen food bags were all made of plastic. In my bathroom, I have a plastic tooth brush, plastic containers for liquid soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash and mouth wash, and a plastic shower curtain. There is plastic in my shoes, my hair bands, and my hangers. Everywhere around me there is plastic. If the obvious environmental issues involved in using so much plastic were not enough to worry me, the recent article I wrote on the health issues involved in plastic use got me thinking: What are some ways that I can stop using plastic and use a healthier, more eco-friendly alternative?
- Use a glass water bottle.
The first and most obvious change that I opted to make was to use a glass water bottle. I try to drink as much water as I can in a day, and I take my water bottle with me to the gym and to yoga. If there is any plastic product that I use on a regular basis, it is this one. FWS offers a number of inexpensive plastic-free bottle choices.
2. Use an ecological toothbrush.
If plastic really is a bad as all of the studies say that it is, then brushing my teeth twice, sometimes three, times a day with a plastic toothbrush needs to change. I researched plastic-free alternatives and switched to a compostable bamboo toothbrush. I was worried that it would not brush as well as a plastic toothbrush, but I was wrong. It works just a well and I don’t have the negative health or environmental impact to worry about.
3. Switch to glass or ceramic food containers.
I prepare a lot of my food for the week ahead of time during the weekend so that I don’t need to rush around during my lunch break to try and find what I want to eat. This is a great way to make sure that I am always prepared with food, and that I stick to my healthy way of living, but it is not so great when it comes to the containers that I use. I will often put warm (or even hot) food in plastic containers after I am done preparing it. I’ll then throw it in the fridge and eat from it later in the day or week. This is not good for my health at all, as studies show that the chemicals from the plastic can actually leach into food and then stay stored in my body. I invested in some glass containers and aside from being healthier for me, they actually hold the food a lot better, do not bend or break, and stack much nicer.
4. Reuse and Recycle Plastic Bags.
Some cities in the United States have put a ban on single use plastic bags. Both side of the debate have valid points for and against the use of plastic bags but an immediate step we all can take remembering the “R’s” (reduce, reuse, and recycle). There here are two blog posts that give some ideas how to reuse ziplock bags and reuse plastic grocery bags. We all can do our part in recycling all plastics not just bags. If you need to find a recycle center close to where you live Earth 911 has a great resource that can be found here.
In total, this lifestyle change cost me around $40 (and that is mainly because I bought a whole lot of glass containers). People always think that switching to healthier or more environmentally-friendly products will be exponentially more expensive, but that is not entirely true.