The (Partial) Plastic Purge

I’ve read it. You’ve read it. We’ve all read about how plastics aren’t perfect. Even the BPA-free ones aren’t really that free from toxic chemicals.

A study published in the journal Environmental Health assessed the estrogenic activity of both BPA-free plastic and BPA-containing plastic. Researchers found that both types of plastic had estrogenic activity (EA), including BPA-free plastic and the chemical compounds that were intended to replace BPA in plastics. These human-made chemicals pose a threat to humans and to children in particular. Research shows that EAs increase aggression, affect the immune system and seriously affect hormones. ~ Michelle Schoffro Cook (April 7, 2016) @ Care2 Healthy Living

Once again, we’re late to the party. In this case, the glass party. Yes, we ditched plastic water bottles a long time ago but up until, oh say yesterday, I was guilty of reheating plastic containers in the microwave (and wondering why they were all permanently stained and looked like a dog had chewed on them). You can reprimand me now. I deserve it. I’m educated. I read. I should know better.

Convenience is my only excuse. With a full set of Rubbermaid containers sitting within arms reach of the stove, it was always easiest just to grab one for leftovers rather than getting a jar from the closet or a bowl from beneath the counter. Today, I fixed that problem. I tossed all the plastic containers into a box and replaced them with glass containers. I also moved the jars to the top of the pantry. I’m not sure yet what the fate of the Rubbermaids will be (except for the mangled ones, which are going to recycling this afternoon). The ones in good shape can still be used for transporting food when we travel. Note to self: I said transporting, not reheating.

So why the sudden interest in glass? I think part of it is the just the natural progression of becoming more crunchy (ie. environmentally aware). Another part is because I believe that better food deserves a better container. If our goal is to eat right and eat mostly fresh foods, I want those foods to be stored in a container that best retains their natural flavors and won’t make them taste like whatever was stored there before. (Ever tried to reuse a plastic container that had an onion in it? Everything thereafter tastes like onions!)

We’re also switching to glass (and other sustainable materials) because it’s more cost effective. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve replaced our plastic containers over the years. This last set cost us $20 and we’ve only had them about a year. And then there are the storage bags. I have no idea how much we’ve invested in Ziploc this century but I’m sure it’s enough to fund a nice weekend getaway. Glass lasts…well, forever…or until you break it. The Pyrex bowls that my grandmother passed on to me 23 years ago are still in excellent shape.

Before I went out and purchased new glass storage bowls, I did a quick assessment of what we already had but just weren’t using – including Granny’s Pyrex set. Our upgrade to glass cost $9. With that I bought a set of 4 smaller glass storage containers with locking lids and some generic lids for our existing bowls (at a closeout store). To finish up the plastic purge, I decided now was also a good time to ditch the plastic cooking utensils and measuring cups. That purchase, along with cloth napkins, set me back another $20.

We’ll never be completely rid of plastic in our home but I can say with certainty that we won’t be cooking with plastic anymore.

Out with the old:

In with the new:

In keeping with our minimalist philosophy, for each new item purchased, at least one old item was recycled or donated.