BPA free, phthalate free, PVC, polymer, polypropylene, non-toxic plastic, natural plastic, green plastic, oh my!
These are just some of the buzzwords I kept seeing and reading about while pregnant with my first child. As I began to build my knowledge bank and arm myself with the tools with which to protect my unborn future leader (who was the size of a watermelon seed) I felt equal parts of morning sickness and information overload.
I had grown up in a household in which my mother microwaved plastic wrapped meals, rejoiced over the sturdiness of styrofoam, used Tupperware for everything and washed it all in her delightful dishwasher. Add to that her pride in discovering that she could freeze plastic water bottles and use disposable plastic utensils and paper plates as her substitute for a “housekeeper”. Whatever made her life easier was deemed a sustainable future for my mother!
It began to dawn on me that following in prepackaged, disposable footsteps would never produce a sustainable future for my unborn children. If I wanted to demonstrate any consciousness, at all, about protecting the Earth and sustaining its natural resources for future generations, I needed to effect change immediately, before my first born poked her little feet out into the world.
My first “healthy” switch was going from multiple disposable water bottles to one cute plastic BPA free reusable water bottle. I felt so proud! I was changing the world, just by filling up my one water bottle and bringing it everywhere. I was becoming a plastic expert, telling my friends and family not to leave their plastic bottles in the sun and explaining to whoever would listen that plastics contain toxins and they’re polluting our environment.
I had plenty of time to research the best practices for a healthy and responsible life. What I discovered right away was that plastic usage was a growing disaster. Most plastics are made from petroleum or natural gas; non-renewable resources extracted and processed using energy-intensive techniques that destroy fragile ecosystems…. that alone brought me to tears. Additionally, plastic packaging and plastic bags make up much of our landfill waste, and since polyethylene ( used for plastic bags) is not biodegradable, it has been estimated that the bags may be around for as much as 500 years, some say even up to 1000 years. If that alone isn’t bad enough, plastic is regularly consumed by marine life and land animals to fatal consequences. All that information, in my life growing state, was enough for me to make the commitment.
NO MORE PLASTIC!
Much easier said than done. I never realized just how much plastic was in my life! I began slowly, trying to find alternatives I could live with, yet still satisfy my new plastic-free quest.
- Instead of plastic grocery bags, I got adorable cloth ones. I even began remembering to bring them into the grocery store after the first few unsuccessful times!
- Instead of plastic water bottles, I began using stainless steel and glass bottles.
- Instead of plastic bowls, I got glass bowls and lots of mason jars.
Once I began steering away from prepackaged products and heading towards the bulk bins for nuts, raisins, etc. I not only felt great about my contribution to preserving the planet, but I was saving money, too, who knew!
As simplistic as my initial entry was into the consciousness of creating a sustainable and protected future for my children, it was definitely a start to what continues to be my learning path in creating a healthy and joyous life for my family and future generations.