“It’s all very well,” I hear you cry, “giving us all a big lecture about the perils of plastics but what exactly am I meant to do about it? I mean, everything comes wrapped in plastic.”
So true. And as I have discovered, it is impossible to live plastic-free. However, I have come to be of the opinion that many cancers do not have a single cause but rather may be triggered by a coalescence of different genetic, hormonal, dietary and environmental factors. On that basis I just do my best to reduce as many of the risks in my daily life as I can.
Here are a few simple strategies that I have enacted to at least cut down my exposure to nasty chemicals:
- I don’t microwave food in plastic containers or covered with cling film. I believe it is ok to microwave food in a glass or china dish, covered with a plain, unbleached kitchen towel.
- I don’t wrap my food in cling film (but I think it’s ok to stretch it over a bowl, so long as it doesn’t touch the food.) I have acquired a lot of stainless-steel containers with lids and also glass bowls with lids.
- I try not to buy food that is vacuum packed in plastic.
- If I buy fruit and veg that are wrapped in plastic, I take them out of the bags as soon as I get home.
- I try not to drink water from plastic bottles. This is nigh on impossible but I do my best: I order tap water in restaurants. I drink water from a (hard plastic) filter jug at home. I carry stainless steel water bottles for brief periods of time before I lose them. I drink lots of water at home so that I don’t have to top up from those giant-plastic-bottle water coolers when I’m out and about.
- I try even harder not to eat tinned food. The old-fashioned, unlined tins are fine but they’re rare and of course, one can’t tell if the tin is plastic-lined or not until after one has opened it.
Useful things to buy to help deplasticise your life:
- A stainless steel water bottle (not lined with plastic)
- Wooden chopping boards
- Wooden spoons and spatulas for cooking
- A hard anodised non-stick frying pan or a Le Creuset cast iron, enamelled frying pan (expensive but will last a lifetime)
- Stainless steel and glass storage containers with lids (this second item is often known as a ‘jar’)
- Paper bags for wrapping sandwiches etc
- Fabric shopping bags. If you are feeling particularly militant, you can unwrap all your groceries at the checkout, decant them into your fabric bags and return the packaging to the store.
- A pair of spectacles for reading the tiny recycling numbers hidden on plastic packaging
- A roll of greaseproof paper to take to your local butcher to wrap your meat in – just for fun
And if you’re still wondering whether it is worth all the effort, have a look at this.