Friday, January 11, 2008

Some Green Talk about Plastic

At times it can seem like our world is just about made of plastic. You shop and a huge portion of what we purchase comes wrapped up in plastic. Toys are plastic, furniture can be plastic, we sit in cars surrounded by plastics, our dish soap comes in plastic and on and on. We pick out wonderful organic produce and pop them in a plastic bag to be weighed. Most folks store food in the fridge in plastic storage containers. Our landfills are full of plastic, and on a windy day, plastic bags fly about like tiny kites without strings.
We made the decision a couple years ago to store food in glass containers. To take cloth bags to the store with us, and to shop carefully, limiting the amount of plastics we bring home.
Here are some good suggestions for reducing the use of plastics in your home.
Crate and Barrel has some great glass food storage containers, some with glass lids too.
What you can do to reduce plastics and toxic exposure
by Pamela Lundquist
Avoid single-use, disposable packaging.
Bring cloth bags to your supermarket to carry groceries home.
Buy in bulk, whenever possible. Purchasing the least-packaged option sends a clear message to manufacturers and retailers alike.
Choose refillable containers. Glass, for example, can be reused for food storage.
Choose packaging that's made from truly recyclable materials: paper, glass, metal cans. (Purchasing recycled paper products completes the recycling loop.)
Bring your own container to salad bars, yogurt shops, etc. -- any place you'll be served in plastic.
For wrapped foods, choose butcher paper, waxed paper or cellulose bags. Reuse aluminum foil whenever possible.
Choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE) whenever plastic cannot be avoided. These are the most commonly recycled plastics.
Avoid plastics that aren't readily recyclable: #3 (PVC), #4 (LDPE), #5 (PP), #6 (PS), #7 ("Other").
Choose storage containers made of glass, ceramic or stainless steel (where appropriate). These can be reused endlessly.
Microwave foods and drinks in oven-proof glass or ceramic and cover with an oven-proof glass lid or plate. Never let plastic wrap touch food while in the microwave!
Avoid plastics that leach questionable chemicals: #3 (PVC), #6 (PS), #7 ("Other," usually polycarbonate).
Avoid plastic cutlery and dinnerware. Use stainless steel utensils and look for recycled paper products.
When purchasing cling-wrapped foods from the supermarket or deli, slice off a thin layer where the food came into contact with the plastic and store the rest in a glass or ceramic container, or non-PVC cling wrap (see Products).
our home in the green of summer


Bren said...

Great Post. I have not switched all the way to glass containers but am working on it. I like to use the old blue ball jars with the zinc porcelin lids to store things in.

novascotiagal said...

Your post is timely. I have recently started replacing my plastic in the fridge with glass and ceramic. I was still guilty of defrosting meat in the microwave still with the plastic wrap and styrofoam. Now I know I've been poisoning everybody! Just last week I found out what was in the wrap container plastic that would leach out, and started defrosting on a ceramic plate, instead.
I have believed for a long time that plastic heated leaches bad stuff, and only used glass bottles for my children and never used plastic microwave dishes - only ceramic. (My defrosting was the only exception.) But I wasn't sure what to do about storage. Then, a little while ago, I read a post from you, Patty, and you mentioned you used glass storage - and I realized it was possible. That's when I started looking for glass containers. My only problem is the lack of choice here in my corner of Canada - I am looking for square sided glass for good use of space, and can't find them here yet, but in the meantime, round will do. Thank you!

Jacran Cottage said...

I have thought about replacing all my plastic storage containers and I have looked around a little, but it will be an expensive venture. I want clear ones so that I don't lose track of what's inside. I do use canning jars for things like oatmeal and granola. It's the leftovers and things for the fridge that I'm thinking about. I guess I should just bite the bullet and buy one every once in a while. Thanks for the nudge!

MarmiteToasty said...

My cupboard is full of glass jars filled with all sorts of things :).... I do now NEVER accept a plastic carrier bag when out shopping and always have me jute or hessian shopping bags with me.... I/we do our best and we recycle EVERYTHING that we possibly can, even down to giving our 2 pet chickens any scraps from the table, our compost bin is also in full swing and so is our recycle bin :)

btw great post......

I just would like to add, that I made a HUGE pot of your lentil soup yesterday, it was simmering away for hours and hours and its now in bowl size portions in GLASS JARS :) in me fridge and goodness it is just about the nicest lentil soup Ive ever tasted........ so fanks for the recipe on one of your previous posts.....


Patty said...

Glad you liked the lentil soup recipe, we just love the flavor it has. Good to see you are storing it in glass !

Patty said...

Those blue jars are so pretty Bren, I have two like that, they hold my cinnamon sticks and raisins

Patty said...

Crate and Barrell has glass storage containers that are square.
here is the link
page three has glass containers with glass lids.

Meggie said...

Thanks for stopping by Meggies Stuff. Great post about plastic. I've been wanting to do more and your post has given me incentive. Thanks.

novascotiagal said...

Thank you Patty!, I have coveted the Crate and Barrel glass, it looks perfect, but I would have to import it into Canada- this is very expensive. However, they are planning to open a store in Toronto this coming fall, and then perhaps I can have them shipped to me without duties, taxes, and "brokerage fees". I can't even order those wonderful oil lamps from Lehman's without this problem- or sewing patterns, or anything from the U.S. without paying way extra. Sigh. So I wait for the occasional trip south, and bring a few goodies home with me. Maybe glass storage next time.:-) Thanks for the advice though... I only found the Crate stuff when I started searching after reading that first post of yours that prompted me.

~Miss Nelson said...

Everytime I come here I learn something new. I have recently started adding cloth bags to my collection in the car so that when I go to the grocery store I am already prepared. Thanks for the reminder to look for more ways to cut down on plastic.

Renie Burghardt said...

What great information. I have also been replacing plastic containers with glass or pyrex. Have to do much more. Thank you for educating us.

Have a great evening.


Marianna said...

I'm starting small on this one by being committed to using cloth bags at the store. I do this for every place I go, not just the grocery! So far I've only received a couple of odd looks. I have slowly begun to switch to glass for storing food. The one thing I haven't figured out is containers for the kid's lunches...

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