It might seem hyperbolic, but sometimes, you just need to be upfront about things. Plastic is the enemy.
It’s the enemy for a number of reasons, too.
- Discarded plastic has huge environmental consequences. To begin with, there is the littering problem which endangers native wildlife. Then there is the huge amount of plastic in the oceans, which is disrupting the natural ecological cycle.
- Plastic is a product of the oil industry, which poses significant environmental risks as a whole.
- For concerns closer to home, look no further than the links between plastics and human health. Plastics have been proven, for example, to disrupt the endocrine system, especially those with BPA.
So why do we use plastic at all, given what we now know about it?
Compared to other materials, plastic is simple and effective on a basic level. It can keep food in airtight conditions, keeping it fresh for longer. It’s also easier to transport, as plastic can withstand jostling and will rarely shatter if dropped.
Sometimes, the answer is the most obvious one, and that’s the case here. Plastic is useful. It’s especially useful when it comes to storage and packaging of food. You can try to limit your use of plastic in other areas, but if you don’t deal with the food problem, then you’ll never make much of an impact.
Given the environmental and health concerns, however, it’s safe to conclude that limiting your use of plastic is a sensible step forward. This isn’t always simple; plastic is ubiquitous in its usage, so trying to replace everything you own – particularly for food storage – is difficult. However, you do have a few options.
The non-stick coating on your frying pan is usually formed using plastic, and can be bad for health. Using old-school cast iron cookware is by far the best bet. Not only does it produce better tasting food, but a single cast iron pan could be all you need for the rest of your life – their longevity is striking. Also, when properly allowed to build a patina, cast iron is as non-stick as the plastic alternatives.
Furthermore, stainless steel has fantastic thermal properties, but it has plenty of other benefits too. Not only is it a sustainable material, it also has the benefits of being as shatterproof as its plastic counterparts. That makes it perfect for food and drinks that will be used on the move, such as stainless steel thermal lunch boxes or a thermos for your morning coffee. You can also find canisters for use at home as kitchen storage.
Best used in for kitchen food storage, glass is an effective, long-lasting and health neutral form of storage. It also has the benefit of being more aesthetically pleasing. Use it to store grains, nuts, and anything else that usually comes wrapped in a plastic container.
So while it may take some time and expense to replace all the plastic items in your life, it’s well worth doing. Not only will you eliminate the risk of potentially compromising your health, but you’ll also be giving the environment a helping hand.