Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What to do about all this plastic...or ..... What do I drink my water out of now?

I have noticed more and more products I buy are suddenly packaged in plastic. What happened to the juice I used to buy in glass jars?... plastic bottles. It is getting harder to find non-plastic containers at the grocery store. And what about recycling all this plastic. I feel like I am filling our recycling container at home to the top on a weekly basis. I would rather have glass containers that I could possibly reuse. And there is a recent buzz in the news about previously "safe" plastic bottles now being bad for you. What has changed since I last checked this out?

I recently found this article on the Organic Consumer's Association website:
Do You Know What Plastic Recycling Symbols Mean?
An easy guide to what each of the symbols mean, how they can be recycled, what they get recycled into and the probability of chemical leaching. The original source of the article is The Daily Green, May 3, 2008. The article explains the following plastics:

Number 1 -- PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
Number 2 -- HDPE (high density polyethylene)
Number 3 -- V (Vinyl) or PVC
Number 4 -- LDPE (low density polyethylene)
Number 5 -- PP (polypropylene)
Number 6 -- PS (polystyrene)
Number 7 -- Miscellaneous

I have been avoiding eating foods packaged in plastic since I read "Hormone Heresy" a few years ago by
Sherrill Sellman. In it she describes plastics as giving off estrogen-mimicking chemicals and the dangers they pose to women. I have had bad PMS and problems with my reproductive organs for years. Could it have been an overload of estrogen in my body, was I overexposed to estrogen-like chemicals ? I am always willing to try out natural remedies instead of using drugs so I tried to remove as much plastic from my surroundings and food as possible. I found that my PMS symptoms lessened and my other reproductive problems got better. These results could have been from multiple changes I made like eating better, but I believe the lower exposure to plastic also helped.

So what to drink water out of now? My new favorite toy is this water bottle by SIGG, made in Switzerland. It is made from a single piece of impact extruded aluminum with no seams. I find it keeps my water cool, even in the car, and I end up drinking more throughout the day. You can find them at many stores, including REI and Whole Foods and they run about $21. I have also heard good things about KleanKanteen stainless steel bottles. I do still use convenience foods like bottled water when travelling, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

Other resources for info about plastic:
http://www.earthodyssey.com/symbols.html#recyclable
http://discovermagazine.com/2008/may/18-the-dirty-truth-about-plastic
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1565564,00.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/16/business/worldbusiness/16plastic.html

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