Friday, October 15, 2010

Getting Rid of Plastic

I've spoken about greening my kitchen before, and while I've certainly come a long way from where I was, such as going paperless and making my kid's lunches waste-free, I felt that there was one more step that I needed to take, which was to get rid of plastic. Volumes have been written about the risks of BPA (and other nasties) which are found in a lot of plastics, and are of particular concern when food is warmed up in it. Given that pretty much my entire stock of food storage containers are relatively expensive, BPA containing Tupperware, I was both concerned about the health risk AND faced a dilemma!

The more and more I read, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I could not ignore the health concerns, particularly when it came to containers that were used for heating up food, or storing foods high in fat, the two situations that seemed to pose the biggest risk. So my plan was to start saving money to replace these containers with glass, and re purpose the Tupperware containers for storing other things, such as my dry bulk storage of rice, beans, pasta, cereal etc. Every week I would put money aside for my "non-plastic" fund, and waited for the items I wanted to go on sale. Eventually, 2 wonderful Pyrex sets with BPA-free lids came up on huge discount, and just like that, I had taken one more step to a greener and healthier kitchen. One set I bought contained rectangular containers of various sizes, and the other round, but in hindsight I would definitely have bought only rectangles, as they store so much more efficiently in the cupboard and the fridge.

As well as the containers, I also replaced all the plastic that the kids use with either melamine, ceramic or glass. Following the Montessori principle of allowing children to take responsibility for their items, I bought child sized (but relatively heavy weight) glasses for their drinks, and ceramic or Corelle bowls and plates for their meals. I then purchased some melamine sets for when other children are visiting, as melamine is considered a safe and environmentally friendly option. The only plastic we are now using with the kids are their straws and their BPA-free lunchboxes.

Eventually, I plan to replace all my plastic containers with glass or metal, but for the moment, I am happy with the compromise I have made.

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Brooke said...

Melamine is fairly dangerous as well, from what I remember?

Chic Mummy said...

Hi Brooke. From the research i did, the scare from melamine was from it being found ground up in baby formula. Apparently as plates, etc, it is pretty inert and non-leaching. Regardless, I like to err on the side of caution, so I mostly use ceramic/glass with the kids, and just save the melamine for guests who aren't comfortable with their kids using breakables.

Chic Mummy said...

Hi Brooke, I forgot to mention that i treat my melamine like i do my bpa-free plastic lunchboxes - basically no prolonged heat, just to be on the safe side. That is, no microwaving and no dishwashing.

Brooke said...

I understand. :)

Our problem with using it was that it tends to crack really easy, and just the idea of formaldehyde in a food dish was kinda creepy. Granted, we don't have kids yet, so our minds might change when we do ;) Which glass dishes did you get by the way? We just recently went paper towel free, and soon to go paper napkin free!

(sorry for not responding right away! I forgot to click "email follow up comments"!)

Chic Mummy said...

yeah, the formaldehyde is pretty creepy isn't it?! We haven't had any problems with the melamine cracking yet, but since they are not used that often, maybe that is why. I definitely would not use a cracked piece, though. As to the ceramic/glass, we found sound really cute child sized glasses at a kitchen supply store - i think they are actually glass espresso cups. for plates and bowls, we are using Corelle and also some cute matching ceramic sets (farm for him, and fairy for her) that i found on clearance at a drugstore of all places!

Mrs. Mandy said...

Ok so this is awesome! I totally forgot how great corelle is. It was our "first" set of dishes and that stuff is almost indestructable. My hubby is nervous about using glass with the 19 month old so maybe this will help her learn to be careful. Think a trip to goodwill is in order! Thanks so much.
Mrs. Mandy

mamipdx said...

we are also trying to rid our kitchen of plastic- slowly but surely. glass is fairly resistant and kid friendly when it's a heavier grade. we also have a carpet under our dining room table so dropped cups don't hit hardwood.
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