The Plastic Free (and Child Friendly) Kitchen by Aida Garcia-Toledo
Look around your kitchen – do you see a lot of plastic? Baby bottles? Cups? Plates? food storage containers? plastic wrap/saran wrap?
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place when plastics can be used and probably should be used – but this should not be every single day, especially not in your kitchen…even if you have little kids.
The reason is that not only are plastics bad for the environment, but they can also be pretty bad for your health too. Plastics are often unstable and leach (give off) unhealthy chemicals which make their way to our food. Chemicals like BPA, replacements chemicals in “˜BPA-free’ products, phthalates and PVC (among many others) are commonly found in many plastic items in our homes. The migration of chemicals increases when the plastics are exposed to heat. And in the kitchen, folks, things are constantly exposed to heat: when you serve hot food on a plate, when you place hot food in a storage container, if you place plastics in the dishwasher, if you microwave plastics and even if you serve warm milk in a baby bottle.
The chemicals commonly found in plastics are associated with hormone disruption, which can lead to cancers and birth defects, immune system suppression, developmental problems in children, as well as asthma and obesity.
Tips for Reducing Plastic Usage and Safer Alternatives
Thankfully, there are plenty of safe, non-toxic, Earth friendly and stylish alternatives to plastics in the kitchen!
If you are looking around your plastic filled kitchen and don’t know where to start, consider taking these steps:
Throw out (or recycle) your plastic food storage containers and invest in a set of glass containers.
Stop sending your kids to school with plastic lunch containers- switch to silicon covered glass containers or stainless steel containers
Stop using plastic wrap. It could be bad for you and is bad for the environment. Cheese cloths and napkins are better options.
Stop the plastic water bottle obsession. Once again, bad for the planet and for you. Invest in a high quality water filter for home use and get yourself a cute silicon covered glass or stainless steel water bottle to carry around.
Kids are most vulnerable to hormone disrupting chemicals in plastics”…don’t serve them their food on plastic plates and cups. Buy some cute silicon covered glass, wooden, silicone or bamboo plates for every day use. Acidic drinks like orange juice can also accelerate the the deterioration of plastic, similar to heat.
Even more vulnerable than kids to the hormone disrupting chemicals in some plastic? Babies. Remember; even ‘BPA free’ usually contains bad chemicals. Switch to glass baby bottles.
When you are at the supermarket, seek out food and brands that are packaged in more eco friendly packaging that use less plastics. Ie: choose the ketchup in the glass container instead of the plastic container
If you must use plastic (on occasion) avoid Polycarbonate (plastic #7) which contains BPA or similar substitutes. While some plastics are more stable than others and, thus, less likely to leach chemicals, there are studies that show that all plastics contain estrogenic chemicals and other hormone disruptors.
Bottom line: Having kids is not an excuse to have a kitchen full of unbreakable plastic! By seeking out alternatives to plastic you will not only benefit the planet but will also benefit your entire family’s health!
Aida is the founder of Non-Toxic Munchkin, a non-toxic living blog and consulting company who’s mission is to educate parents about the hazards of daily exposure to toxic chemicals and help them transition to a healthier and less chemically dependent lifestyle. All, while finding a balance between healthier everyday choices and living a modern day, stylish, life.
“It is not a diet. It is not a detox. It is a new way of life.”