There are areas of concern involving the use of plastics and an increased risk for children, say certain sources. According to WebMD, some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA (Bisphenol A), a common chemical in plastics, could be most pronounced in infants and young children. “Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.” Also, the FDA reports that PVC plastic can be a toxic exposure risk via DEHP, a softener that is released from PVC as it degrades.
As part of its Toxic Free Kids initiative, the Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation (CCRF) says regulating plastic use in the home is a step towards making homes and families toxin-free. Fortunately, there are many ways to dramatically reduce overall plastic use, and by switching over to safer, more environmentally-friendly plastics, families can reap health and environmental benefits.
Here are the top 10 steps you can take to reduce the amount of plastic in your home:
- Wooden & Cloth Toys – Handmade wooden toys are great for your kids; their use supports small businesses, and the toys themselves are often unique. Further, they will usually last much longer than equivalent plastic toys. Some great retailers of quality wooden toys are The Wooden Horse and Melissa and Doug. Cloth toys will last for years and may become treasured heirlooms.
- Cloth Shopping Bags – Easily available from most retailers. Not only is cloth a good material for shopping bags; it’s good for laundry bags, backpacks, and other toting gear and can be used to replace usual nylon containers.
- Metal Water Bottles – Use a cloth strap and holder for times when you’re jogging. They also keep water cooler for a longer period of time.
- Buy in Bulk – If you can make the trip to Costco, buy as much of your goods in bulk as you can. Doing this reduces overall plastic use; the less packaging there is, the less plastic is consumed.
- Cloth Lunch Bags – While an unusual item for you and your kids, several retailers on Etsy let you personalize your lunch bag with a PDF image, so you can look cool while staying toxin-free.
- Use Bar Soap – Bar soaps are usually wrapped in paper, while body washes are stored in plastic bottles. If you like to use a body wash, use a glass bottle dispenser instead.
- Use Laundry Powder – Plastic bottles used for laundry detergent fill up landfills. Instead, measure your laundry detergent with a scoop or glass measuring cup.
- Don’t Use Plastic Straws – Instead, your family should look into products such as paper and steel sippy cups and straws. Glass Dharma offers its own unique glass drinking straw.
- Ceramic Dishes – They can be found at most major retailers and are a great, sturdy alternative to most plastic flatware