Banish plastics from your kitchen!

What do you usually use to store your leftovers? Glass? Or do you still use plastic containers? Or have you not really thought about it in some time and just throw your food in whatever you can find that’s reasonably clean? If you’re still using plastic, perhaps it’s time to rethink that decision.

Why should you banish the plastics?

1. Plastics are made from petroleum. Oil. A finite resource. A pollutant. A substance which has fueled (literally and figuratively) wars. A substance which leaked into the Gulf of Mexico for months after last April’s explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. By cutting down on the amount of plastic you consume, you cut down on the demand for oil. This does not simply apply to plastic food containers, but also plastic packaging around food, plastic water bottles, plastic around consumer goods… I am sure you get the idea. Plus, plastic is not always recyclable throughout the country.

2. Soft plastics, such as plastic wrap, PVC, and bottle cap liners, include substances called phthalates. Phthalates act as endocrine disruptors, which means that it’s causing shifts in your hormone levels. It is also possible that phthalates can cause weight gain. Another chemical in this type of plastic is DEHA, which can get into your food if it comes in direct contact, especially if it’s a fatty food. DEHA is listed as a possible carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency, but somehow a substance which can cause cancer is allowed in material which touches food.

3. Hard plastics, such a plastic food containers and water bottles, contain Bisphenol A, also known as BPA. This chemical has been getting some bad press in recent years, and with good reason. For some time it has been known that BPA mimics estrogen, which, again, will disrupt the balance of hormones in the body. This can lead to cancer and birth defects. BPA is also in a lot more substances than bottles; metal cans are often lined with BPA. When this plastic is heated, it will leak into any food it comes into contact with.

I’ve started making the switch from plastic food storage to glass. Right now I favor Pyrex storage (and I do not get paid to say that), because it is glass, very durable (it’s used in chemistry labs), and while the lids for its storage containers are plastic, they are a durable BPA-free plastic. I also will not put them through the dishwasher even though they claim to be dishwasher-safe, because I do not want to risk the heat releasing some unknown chemicals which might get into my food.

Do you want to make the switch over to glass storage containers? If you’re reading this before January 26, 2011, you’re in luck! I am offering a a set of three Pyrex storage containers to one lucky winner. See this entry to find out how to qualify.

Information from this post primarily came from the book Politically Incorrect Nutrition by Michael Barbee.

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This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday.

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8 responses to “Banish plastics from your kitchen!

  1. Pingback: Win a set of Pyrex glass storage! | I Believe In Butter

  2. I use a lot of mason jars. Pyrex is great too. 🙂

  3. There are plastic storage containers one can buy that are marked as being BPA free. Wonderful containers w/ air tight lids and come in several sizes. Just a little FYI.

  4. Norma, thanks for including that, but I am still avoiding them to reduce the amount of petroleum-based things out of my life.

  5. I still have a lot of plastic containers, but I’ve been using canning jars more and more. They look really pretty, and they’re stackable, but they’re so heavy. They’re also pretty cheap. Not sure how much pyrex stuff costs.

    • syncreticmystic

      Pyrex does cost a bit more, but it’s also super durable and heavy. I’m not worried about it cracking or potentially leaking.

  6. Here’s where I wish I could post a picture… Over the course of the last year, I have been acquiring those Pyrex and Corning “refrigerator dishes” from the 50’s & 60’s–I find them at “antique” flea markets, and sometimes they’re not outrageously priced (apparently, they have become collectors items, and particular colors are more highly valued). I love how they stack within each other, and the lids also stack nicely (hence the picture… my cabinet is so lovely with them all lined up like little soldiers for battle)–but the are definitely heavy! I do prefer them for storing things in the refrigerator, and I actually use canning jars for all of my freezing of things. Tattle makes a BPA-free reusable canning lid, so those are wonderful, and if you leave about 1/2 inch or more below the “shoulder” of the jar, I’ve never had one break (wait to tighten the lids after contents are frozen).

    Still, though, hubby just can’t NOT buy his yogurt and cottage cheese in those horrendous little plastic containers, so I went on a “GET IT OUT” rampage this weekend, and have several bagfuls of plastic–I was surprised at the leftover (not one of them Tupperware LOL) containers that I still had in my kitchen (can we say wasted space? I haven’t USED them, except maybe to store dry goods in my pantry–but I even prefer canning jars for that!). I also bagged up some kitchen utensils and other plastic that was floating around… so your post is quite timely! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. “Tattler” canning lids… missed the “r” LOL

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