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Cutting back on Plastic

plastic

There is a growing concern about  the potential negative health affects of food in plastic. We wanted to give you some tips on how to reduce your use of plastic and provide you with some good aternatives.

We think It is great that there are more and more options to buy food and beverages in glass. We like to buy things such as honey, milk, pickled vegetables, coconut yogurt and maple syrup in glass bottles instead of plastic. You may need to spend a little extra money, but I think it is worth the investment.

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Swap your plastic for recycled glass jars

We store almost everything we can in glass jars. We  recycle our jars to store nuts, dried fruit, flour, grains, homemade salad dressing and mayo, broths, kombucha and leftovers. You can also buy some beautiful glass and enamel storage items.  If you do end up using a plastic container, avoid microwaving it as the chemicals will leach into your food. Also, wait until your food is totally cooled down before putting it in a plastic container.

If you like keep hydrated and have a water bottle handy, use glass or aluminium. There are many nice options available out there. You can also reuse a glass sparkling water bottle from the supermarket.

We try to buy products in bulk as it can be placed in paper bags; Commonsense Organics have this system for a large variety of their dried goods. It feels good to use minimal packaging. Using a cloth tote is a great way to avoid bringing home so many unrecyclable plastic bags; this will help lower your carbon footprint! You can wrap food in natural wax paper for work or school lunches. We find the "Scale wax paper" sold art Moore Wilsons is the perfect size to wrap a sandwich or bit of food in for lunch. If you require disposable containers and cutlery for eating away from home you can buy ones made of corn, sugar and potato starch as an alternative to plastic. 

If you want to be extra cautious and avoid some of the plastics that are more of a concern read the number in the recycle triangle. Try and avoid numbers 3, 6 and 7 which are known to leach into our environment:

  • No. 3 is known as PVC. It is found in plastic bottles and containers, children’s toys, wall paint, vinyl flooring, water pipes; this is toxic as it leaks phthalates into our body.
  • No. 6 is polystyrene (PS). You might see it in cups and styrofoam products. It can't be recycled in Wellington, which for me is a good enough reason to avoid it.
  • No. 7 is polycarbonate (PC). You can find this one in many baby bottles and some microwave cookware.

Some plastics are better than others:

It's not all bad news...... There is no known health effects that have been associated with: No. 1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), No.2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene -milk bottles), No.4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene – bread bags, some cling wraps), and No.5 PP (polypropylene - containers). However we recommend sticking to plastics 1 and 2, because these are commonly the ones that New Zealand local authorities recycle.

Happy Recycling!

 

Sources : http://www.safefood.org.nz/plasticstoavoid.php