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Let's talk about plastic

We‘re right at the end of July, and I really wanted to get this blog about plastics written before the month is over. Why the urgency? Because July is the month that encourages us to reduce the amount of plastic we use with Plastic Free July

Over the years I’ve become more and more conscious of the amount of plastic that makes its way into my home. It’s hard to ignore the startling impact of plastic pollution on our seas and environment yet it was back in 2006 when I first studied nutrition at the College of Naturopathic Medicine that I started to understand the impact of plastics on our health as well. Research continues to reveal that chemicals such as phthalates (used to soften plastic), and PBAs (used to harden it), are entering our bodies and causing havoc for our health in multiple ways. Infertility / fertility issues, hormone-related cancers, immune disorders and impaired neurodevelopment have all been linked to chemical additives.

Whether you want to ensure our environment is not subjected to more plastic pollution, protect your own health and that of your family from chemical additivets, or all of the above, there is a very compelling argument for each of us to make a concerted effort to reduce our use of plastics. How can we get started?

Here are my top tips:

  1. Buy refillable water bottles and coffee cups and use these whenever possible (look for BPA free options and if you can get one with a filter too, even better).

  2. Switch to glass jars and containers to store food - many health food shops now allow to you to take your own jars to refill with products whether that be that be foods (oils, nuts, seeds, grains, dried fruit and pulses), cleaning products or toiletries. Reusing your glass jars to store food in your cupboards is a great way to reduce glass waste too.

  3. Avoid single use plastic bags. OK, so you’d have to be living under a rock to have not received this memo by now, but hopefully moving forward you’ll be inspired to ditch even strong plastic bags, and use alternatives. You can use recycling drop off points for any old plastic bags that you are no longer using.

  4. Toys are a huge source of plastic in many households, mine included. Look for brands that use recycled plastic that’s PBA free, or go for wooden alternatives wherever possible. Make sure old toys are re-housed rather than ditched - if you don’t have friends with younger kids, donating to charity is always a great option.

  5. Avoid brands that wrap fruit and veg in plastic. Many independent groceries and health food stores use paper bags, and wherever you shop, select the lose items to avoid plastic bags / wrapping. Some brands are now offering corn starch alternatives - my organic fruit and veg delivery from #greenergreens is a good example. Support the brands and suppliers that are offering plastic alternatives and make your views known to those that aren’t.

  6. Ditch your bathroom bottles and switch to soap, shampoo and conditioner bars - I’ve tried a few and have now settled on #faithinnature as their products suit my skin and hair so well!

I hope this has been a helpful overview - if you‘d like some further resources on how plastics are impacting our health and environmental you might find the following links informative:

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