Author: Claire Kaufman
When I started to become aware of what I was throwing away, I realized a huge chunk of it was plastics, specifically, plastic packaging. Which makes sense, because it’s everywhere (especially grocery stores, where I spend quite a lot of time and money). How had we become so reliant on this material that practically did not exist before the 1950s? I wanted to learn more. And what I found was both frightening and empowering.
First and for most, I learned I probably have microplastics in my poop. Yup you read that right. Last year, a study across multiple countries showed EVERY SINGLE PARTICIPANT had microplastics in their 💩. More than 95% of the plastic particles came from food packaging and storage.
Plastics do not biodegrade (break down, like organic material). They photodegrade (weaken in sunlight) and so become brittle and break up into smaller and smaller pieces that end up in our oceans, our soil, and our bodies.
Plastics, especially when heated, have a tendency to release chemicals. The main ones to know are BPA and phthalates, but there are many others, and many behave somewhat similarly... as hormone disrupters.
Get ready for this: studies have proven that plastic exposure is linked to reduced fertility, reduced male sexual function and sperm quality, blunted immune function, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, miscarriage, and low birthweight, disrupted neurodevelopment, and asthma in children 😳
But as it turns out, when we limit our plastic exposure, the levels of many of these chemicals drop almost immediately. It’s hard to avoid plastics all the time, but we have a lot more control than we realize. And that control comes from how we buy food (no plastic packaging), store food (no plastic Tupperware) and prepare food (no Teflon or other plastic-coated pans/heating food in plastic in the microwave).
This information can be a little scary, but it can also be hella empowering. Because doing good for the planet is also doing good for our bodies, our minds, and our fellow humans. And it can inspire change at the business and political level.
I hope this little nugget of information will to inspire you to make the changes that your body and our planet deserve. You don’t have to go completely plastic-free today, but now that you know this information, you have to START today ;).
If you’re in Tucson, I’m leading a Zero Waste Grocery Shopping event on Sunday Jan 27, where I will teach you exactly how you can ditch plastics and instead opt for package-free, toxin-free, real food each and every day. I promise it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds, and I also promise you’ll still be able to eat super tasty complete meals. Sending much love & bulk plantain chip vibes <3