Posts Tagged ‘plastic bottles’
When people are trying to live green, there are a few things we should try never to do. Here are 10 things you should never buy when you are living green. There are great alternatives to everything.
1. Styrofoam cups – Styrofoam last forever and does not biodegrade.
Alternative: Buy recyclable and compostable paper cups. Even better, start buying reusable mugs or water bottles that you can take with you. Great option is the Klean Kanteen.
2. Paper towels – Paper towels waste forest resources, landfill space, and your money.
Alternative: When you do buy paper towels, look for recycled, non-bleached products. Sponges made from cellulose is another option (Here is a quick look) Even better, buy organic dishtowels to wash and reuse.
3. Bleached coffee filters – Dioxins, chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process, contaminate groundwater and air and are linked to cancer in humans and animals.
Alternative: Look for unbleached paper filters. Even better, use reusable filters.
4. Overpackaged foods and other products – Excess packaging wastes resources and costs you much more money. Around thirty three percent of trash in the average American household comes from packaging.
Alternative: Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging. Even better, buy in bulk and use your own containers when shopping.
5. Teak and mahogany – Every year, 27 million acres of tropical rainforest are destroyed. Rainforests cover 6% of Earth’s surface and are home to over half of the world’s wild plant, animal, and insect species. The Amazon rainforest produces 40 percent of the world’s oxygen.
Alternative: Look for Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. Even Better, reuse wood, and buy furniture and other products made from used or salvaged wood. At the Secondhand or antique stores you can find old pieces of furniture that you can prevent from entering the landfills.
6.Chemical pesticides and herbicides – American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year. The EPA found at least one pesticide in almost every water and fish sample from streams and in more than one-half of shallow wells sampled in agricultural and urban areas. These chemicals pose threats to animals and people, especially children. They contaminate our food supply.
Alternatives: Buy organic pest controllers. Even better, plant flowers and herbs that act as natural pesticides.
7. Conventional household cleaners – Household products can contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum-based chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor environment, posting a particular danger for children. The average American household has three to ten of hazardous matter in the home.
Alternative: Look for nontoxic, vegetable-based, biodegradeable cleaners. (See recommendations) Even better, try making your own green cleaner using vinegar, water, and castile soap.
8. Higher octane gas than you need – Only one car in ten manufactured since 1982 requires high-octane gasoline. High-octane gas releases more hazardous pollutants into the air, and may be bad for your car.
Alternative: Buy the lowest-octane gas your car requires as listed in your owner’s manual. Even better, take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.
9. Toys made with PVC plastic – 70% of PVC is used in construction, but it is also found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. Also, additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down; these additives can be particularly dangerous in children’s toys. PVC is also the least recycled plastic.
Alternative: Avoid plastics that are labeled as “PVC” or “#3.” Look for toys that are labeled PVC free such as the Green Toys. Better yet, purchase toys like Plan Toys that are made from recycled rubberwood trees, have formadehyde free adhesives, use soy and water based ink, and packaged in recycled materials.
10. Plastic forks and spoons - Disposable plastic utensils are not biodegradeable and not recyclable in most areas.
Alternative: Use compostable food service items.
Here is yet another confusing, confusing element to recycling, as well as our health. We all want the best for our family but how do we figure out “which” plastics are the best for us??? Grab your plastic bottles/containers, turn them over and check out the arrow normally on the bottom. It will have a number from 1-7. Look at the list below and find out which ones “you” think you would stay away from.
We know our answers……
- #1 PET- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE):
- Used for- water, plastic bottles for soft drinks, juice, sports drinks, beer, mouthwash, catsup, salad dressing, shampoo bottles, detergents & peanut butter containers.
- Profile- contains stabilizers and flame retardants, but fewer additives that leach into foods, drinks, and the ground under landfills than other plastics. These are “one-time” use bottles. It’s a catch-22. You think you are helping the environment by refilling them and “saving” a bottle but you are also leaching plastic in your body every time you refill.
**Widely Recycable & a Safer Plastic**
- #2 HDPE- High Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
- Used for- bottles for milk, water, juice, cosmetics, shampoo, dish & laundry detergents, household cleaners, plastic bags, cereal box liners.
- Profile- safer for food than many other plastics (doesn’t leach as much) and not quite as toxic to produce.
** Widely Recycable & a Safer Plastic**
- #3 PVC- Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC, Vinyl):
- Used for- plastic cling wrap, cooking oil, cleaning product, some plastic squeeze bottles, toys (this use has been banned in many countries), water pipes, phonograph records, flexible packaging for bedding, shrink wrap, deli & meet wrap.
- Profile- Avoid these plastics at all costs. Vinyl chloride is a human carcinogen. Persistent toxic dioxins are produced during manufacture and incineration of these plastics. Common additives that leach into food include plasticizers (softeners) like phthalates and di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), both considered carcinogenic. Phthalates are known hormone disrupters, and DEHA is linked to deleterious effects on the liver, kidneys, spleen, and bone formation.
**Not Recycled & A Danger!**
- #4 LDPE- Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE):
- Used for- plastic wrap, grocery store bags, some baby bottles, coatings for paper milk cartons, toys, some squeezable bottles, bags for dry cleaning, newspapers, bread, frozen food, etc.
- Profile- like its high-density cousin, LDPE is safer for food (it doesn’t leach as much) and less toxic to produce than other plastics are.
**Not commonly Recycled & a Safer Plastic**
- #5 PP- Polypropylene (PP):
- Used for- containers for yogurt, margarine, takeout meals, deli foods, medicine bottles, bottle caps & closures, ketchup, syrup.
- Profile- Safer than many other plastics (it doesn’t leach as much) and can withstand higher temperatures than other plastics without melting.
**Not commonly Recycled & a Safer Platstic**
- #6 PS- Polystyrene (PS):
- Used for- food service items such as cups, plates, cutlery, hinged takeout containers, meat & poultry trays, packing peanuts, protective foam packaging for furniture, electronics, styrofoam containers
- Profile- Styrene used to make polystrene, is highly toxic to the brain and nervous system. It is a suspected carcinogen that can leach. It may also have adverse effects on red blood cells and the liver, kidneys and stomach. Manufacture involves the carcinogen benzene, which is notorious for sticking around for eons. Steer clear of thes stuff at all costs.
** Not Recycled & a Danger!**
- #7 OTHER- Usually Polycarbonate:
- Used for- 3 & 5 gallon reusable water bottles, citrus juice, some ketchup bottles, hard plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, sport water bottles, metal food can liners
- Profile- This classification is for any plastic other than #1 through #6 but usually it’s polycarbonate. Bisphenol A (BPA) leaches from polycarbonate plastic and mimics and disrupts estrogen, which may alter the normal functioning of the endocrine system, affect growth, puberty, and the size of reproductive organs, and decrease sperm productions. It has been found to spark prostate and breast cancer. Studies show that early-life exposure may cause genetic damage. Almost all governmental-funded studies clearly link BPA with adverse effects, including changes in hormone levels; early puberty, changes in gender-specific behavior; prostat enlargement, decreased sperm production, altered immune function and behavioral effects including hyperactivity, increased aggression and impaired learning. Industry-funded studies say it’s safe. Be your own judge, but steering clear is likely safer.
**Not Recycled & a Danger!**
- #7* PLA- Polylactic acid and other bio-based plastics (biodegradable plastics made from corn, potatoes, soy, and/or wheat:
- Used for- deli and take out food containers, cold cups, straws, cutlery, food wraps and bags
- Profile- These are the great hope for our future health and that of the environment. nontoxic, biodegradable and made with renewable resources, bioplastics need 65% less energy to produce and generate 68% fewer greenhouse gases.
**Biodegradable & Safe**
So! Here you go and it’s your decision which plastic you choose for your body. We hope you choose the safe ones!!
**This information was taken from a “fabulous” book called Easy Green Living by Renee Loux. Also from the American Chemistry Council.**