Concerns About Plastics
Plastics, Food Safety & Children
Plastic is all around us. It's versatile, flexible, moisture resistant, durable, strong and relatively inexpensive. But the widespread use of plastic is causing environmental problems and there is growing concern about plastic's health risks, such as especially for children.
A new BPA (Bisphenol A) study from Columbia University published in the March issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests there is a strong link between asthma and this chemical commonly found in plastics. BPA is already linked to behavior issues, obesity, hormone and thyroid problems, diabetes, and even kidney and heart conditions.
Doctors and scientists believe plastic should be used wisely, with caution and only when suitable alternatives do not exist or are not available.
Plastics & Our Planet
Plastic is taking a toll on our environment – because of how it’s made and ubiquitously thrown away. Most plastics are made from petroleum, which is processed using energy-intensive techniques that are harmful to our ecosystems. And after the plastic, for example in packaging, has been used, it’s thrown away. The plastic bag in particular is an enormous source of landfill waste and is regularly eaten by numerous marine and land animals with dire consequences.
Plastics & Health
Evidence is growing that chemicals leach out of plastics used in food/drink storage. Scientists believe that these plastic chemicals are harmful to humans, especially in children whose systems are more vulnerable. The evidence of health risks from certain plastics is increasingly appearing in established, peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Waste-Free Lunch Facts
The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it. A waste-free lunch (sometimes called a litter-less, smart, garbage-less, waste-free, no-garbage or waste-not lunch) means that you have no packaging to throw away when you're done. All you’re left with is apple cores, banana peels and other biodegradable extras.
A typical American school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded lunchbox packaging waste per school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds annually for an average-size elementary school, which adds up nationwide to more than 1 billion pounds annually. A typical U.S. family using disposibles generates more than 4,000 pieces of lunch trash unnecessarily each year, according to our ECOlunchboxes Lunchbox Waste Study 2010.
More than 20 million Hershey's kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made.
CHERRY PITS & BANANA PEELS
Food debris in a landfill decompose only 25% in the first 15 years (how about composting instead?).
Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS
It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
Nationwide, U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles every hour.
Nationwide, U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups every year.
Sources: The Environmental Forum of Marin, Obentec & U.S. Environmental Protection Agency