Look around your house…I bet you see a common thread among your belongings. Most if not all of the products in your home contain some form of plastic. From the polyester in your carpet to the polycarbonate of storage boxes and table ware. Your TV, your computer, even many of your clothing items contain plastics. Plastic is of itself is a wonderful thing, advances in medicine, travel, and daily life would never have been possible without this man made component. However like many things in our world you can have too much of a good thing. Plastic has taken over our lives and it may be time for you to put it in its place.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle! Why should you recycle. It is pretty simple, your trash doesn’t become someone else’s treasure if it is thrown in a landfill. In fact it may be a cause in destroying the habitats of wildlife and washing up on the beaches of paradise. Did you know that there is an island made of trash and plastic the size of Texas floating in the Pacific Ocean. Trade winds and currents have landed this massive trash heap from around the world into what used to be clean waters. The Plastic Island rests just below the surface of the water, although high volume sections do surface. What can you do to stop this Island from growing? If you choose to use plastic containers, like what might be a 20oz water bottle or soda liters, please recycle them. Choose to use reusable shopping bags and recycle the plastic ones that you already have. You can find bins at many supermarkets where you can recycle old cell phones, glasses, and ink cartridges. Many recycling centers won’t take harder plastics like lawn chairs, but look around and you can find places that will recycle these types of plastics.
Chemicals. Another issue with having too much plastic in your life is the off gassing of chemicals. Studies have shown that these chemicals can cause cancers, infertility, and other degenerative diseases. If you have already made the choice to cloth diaper, then you’re one step ahead. Even though pocket diapers and covers do have plastics in them they are far preferable to thousands of disposable diapers which will take hundreds of years to decompose. The same goes for disposable menstrual products, use a menstrual cup or cloth pads instead of disposable tampons and pads. Recent findings about the dangers of BPA have led many manufacturers of baby products to make their bottles and pacifiers from BPA free plastic. This is a great improvement, however only BPA has been tested so far, many of the other chemicals and softeners in these plastics have not been thoroughly tested to be safe for food products. You can choose to use glass bottle and stainless steel cups instead of plastic feeding tools to reduce you and your children’s exposure to harmful chemicals even more.
Is anything safe? The truth is we don’t know enough about plastics to decide whether they are really safe or not. They have taken up residence in our lives and aren’t likely to move on anytime soon. The best thing to do is to research the things you buy. If I were to remove all the toys from my son’s room that had plastic, nearly everything would have to be thrown out. Rather than become paranoid about every single plastic in your house just make good choices from here on out. Buy toys that made from recycled materials, like Automoblox, and Green toys. Another advantage to these is that many are made in the US and are local companies. When buying clothes look for fabrics that don’t contain polyester and throw out all the old plastic cups in your cabinet. Most importantly don’t make trash. It may be easier to use plastic forks at a cookout, but real cutlery is safer for you and your world. It is the little choices each of us make that will contribute the most to keeping our planet green and us from becoming plastic people.