31 Days: Reducing your Carbon Foot Print – Day 4 :: Reducing (Plastic) Part II

by Tanya on October 5, 2012

This issue of REDUCING PLASTIC USAGE is one I’m very passionate about. I don’t believe plastic is something we can completely remove from our lives, nor do I believe we should, but there are ways of drastically reducing it in our everyday lives. Below are ways plastic negatively effects our planet and ourselves.

OMGoodness! So I began to list the negative effects, began to explain them, looked it over and I WAS OVERWHELMED, and thought Whooaaa, I better tame this. Though it’s true there is Soooo much information, let’s get to the meat!

Did you know?

Plastic water bottles produced for U.S. consumption take 1.5 million barrels of oil per year….That much energy could power 250,000 homes or fuel 100,000 cars for a year….   -USA Today


Bisphenol A (BPA), Polyvinyal Chloride (PVC), polycarbonates and phthalates, these are chemical compounds found in the manufacturing of plastics that leach into the contents within the plastic containers and cause a host of negative health issues. These are food containers, plastic wrap, water and beverage bottles, pacifiers, baby bottles, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on and on.

Did you know?

These toxic effects are made worse by heating? Yep, are you still microwaving with plastic wrap over a bowl or reheating on plastic plates? Are you washing your plastic plates & cups in the dishwasher? Putting hot food on plastic plates? All this breaks down the plastic and aids in the leaching process! Do you purchase bottled water? Leaching, especially when you leave it in a hot car.

 

The big ones to AVOID are plastic beverage bottles, cling wrap and zip-lock bags. Well, I’m actually much more anal than this, but I’m nutso, so….

 Watch this video for more info on how we’ve been led to believe we NEED bottled water and the waste of resources we use making them.

 

Did you know?

Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter.

 

So Where does it go?  Here’s one, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Though this is just one of several garbage patches in our oceans. This one is said to hold over 3.5 million tons of junk, 80% of it PLASTIC!  What’s this doing?  You’re really going to have to read further, the link above has some great information!  Also, this video below and then there are these images!

This so hurts my soul, that we humans have allowed this to happen. I feel responsible, please note this is different than feeling guilty. It has moved me to do my part, as much as I can, for me, my kids, their kids, the future of our amazing planet. Tomorrow’s post will focus on action, what you can do, baby steps. Don’t get overwhelmed! It is a big problem, but change can happen, one person at a time! That’s you:-).

Links to websites and documentaries I recommend for further education on plastic:

Back2Tap – Reducing waste, providing clean water
Bag It – Documentary
Plastic Oceans – Documentary
Tapped – Documentary
The Story of Stuff Project – Documentary and Website/Project
My Plastic-Free Life – Blog
 

  • Bisphenol A or BPA – a chemical compound widely used in the manufacturing of food & beverage containers, baby bottles, beverage bottles and aluminum can lining, (#7 for recycling), etc. It is leached into the contents which the plastic container is holding, then we eat/drink the contents. BPA is also absorbed into the skin from dental sealants, toothbrush bristles and receipt paper from the grocery store and gas station! Linked to many adverse health effects including: endocrine disruptor, mimics estrogen, increases the occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, and high levels of certain liver enzymes. In women with everyday contact there is an increase in miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome which is known to cause infertility, baldness, and ovarian cysts. There have been 100′s of studies in animals that have shown obesity, breast and prostate gland cancer, early puberty, low sperm count, infertility, and reproductive organ defects.

BPA has begun to be more strongly regulated or banned BUT a study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal reports:

“Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled—independent of the type of resin, product,or retail source—leached chemical shaving reliably detectable EA (estrogen activity),including those advertised as BPA free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than did BPA-containing products.”

  • Polyvinyal Chloride or PVC – Found in plastic marked with #3 for recycling (Food packaging, plastic wrap, containers for toiletries, cosmetics, crib bumpers, pacifiers, toys, water pipes, garden hoses, auto upholstery, inflatable swimming pool). Also leaches chemical phthalates from the containers. Health effects include, decreased lung function, increased weight gain, increased resistance to insulin, low sperm count and DNA damage to sperm. There have also been studies that show infant males exposed to this chemical have negative reproductive development.
  • The Pacific Instituteestimates that in 2006:
    • Producing the bottles for American consumption required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation
    • Bottling water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide
    • It took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water
Please share the LOVE:-)!

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