Glass vs. Plastic

I’ve been thinking that it may be fun to start posting about little things we have begun doing around the house that promote healthy living and wellness.  Most of these things are pretty simple, and to be honest we aren’t really sure how big of a difference they will really make in our lives.  I’ve definitely found that I’ve become more and more aware of potential dangers since becoming a mom.  I try not to be uber-paranoid, but rather take notice of small things that I can change in order to make small strides toward safety and optimal health.

My first topic will be about plastic used in food preparation.

Several years ago I had a meeting with a customer in her home.  I recall watching her unload groceries, and she had purchased TONS of bottled water.  I really only noticed because she had actually purchased all GLASS bottles of water.  I asked her why she chose heavy glass over lightweight plastic that wouldn’t shatter all over the floor should her three kids drop it.  She sort of mumbled something about “plastic isn’t good for you” and left it at that.  That was the first I’d heard of plastic being dangerous.

Since then I have sort of glazed over articles that warn of how some types of plastic can be leached into our food and water supply.  Some can even get into our beauty products or can potentially harm our babies when plastic is used as a teething toy or baby bottle.  I’ll admit that I have not researched this in great detail, partly because I am more focused on other topics at the moment, and partly because, well, ignorance is bliss.  But recently when listening to an online health conference I overheard a speaker comment that BPA free plastic is more of a marketing gimic than a safe product.  I did some quick google searches about which plastics to avoid, but there are so many different kinds.  I quickly got overwhelmed and confused, so I wondered if I could just stop buying plastic products for my kitchen altogether.  As it turns out, lots of other crunchy mamas have already started to move in that direction.

Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist wrote an article on the Weston A. Price Foundation website, saying:

Limiting the use of plastic containers in your home is wise, but large plastic jugs do seem to be best for freezing homemade stock and soups. Just be sure never to put plastic containers in the dishwasher as overly hot water breaks down the integrity of the plastic which risks leeching of contaminants into food.

While I’m not ready to throw away the plastic containers that I already own, I have bought a few new things in recent months and try to use them where possible.

1. EIO Glass Kids Cup (8oz) – It recently occurred to me that if all of the yucky things I’ve read about plastics ARE true, I may not want my firstborn child using a plastic cup for every liquid she drinks during her younger years.  Enter the EIO cup, a BPA-free and valve-free kids cup.  Essentially this is a mason jar with a silicone sleeve and cap.  I dropped mine on my tile floor just to see if it would shatter before handing it over to Poppyseed, and it held up quite nicely!  This cup is advised for children 18 months and older, and my guess is that is because there is a tiny little opening for the liquid rather than a little spout or straw.  So for a younger baby who isn’t quite as coordinated, this means some leaking when tipped backward.  Poppyseed has been practicing with it and doesn’t seem to mind the spilling, but I do think it will be more suited to her in a few months.  It’s a fun looking little cup that is available in several colors (we have pink!) and it is very easy to clean.  I think it was worth $15 since it will last a very long time.

2.  Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottle with Silicone Sleeve, 9 Ounce – I absolutely plan to get one of these bottles as soon as I get pregnant with Baby #2.  While Poppyseed has nursed for most of her feedings, she has received all of her pumped breastmilk in a plastic baby bottle.  It never occurred to me that there were other options!  And if you like the baby bottle, you can purchase the Sippy Caps and screw them onto the glass bottle so that your baby can continue to use it during toddler years.

3. I just received our LunchBots Quad (also available in a Trio, duo, or uno) in the mail this weekend.  I needed something to pack Poppyseed’s lunch in so that she has something to go with her to daycare or visits to her grandparents, and I’d seen this product advertised on just about every paleo food blog I read.  It’s made of stainless steel, so once again it is completely free of plastic and BPA.  It’s very tough – you could probably bang it against a brick wall without risking any damage to it, so I’d say it will last forever!  While I can say that I’m pleased with this product on the whole, I do have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed by the size – it was MUCH smaller than I anticipated.  It’s great for a kiddo’s lunch or an adult’s snack, but this could definitely NOT double as a lunchbox for an adult.  It just isn’t large enough to fit a large portion of food.

4.  Since LunchBots just weren’t going to cut it for Oatmeal’s lunches, plus he tends to eat more leftover soups, stews, and pot roasts with lots of liquid for lunch anyway, I bought a few Rubbermaid Glass Food Storage Containers for him to use at work.  These are pretty straightforward and we like them because they are safe in the microwave and easy to clean.   Plus, the lids are VERY secure and he doesn’t have to worry about spills.

So I am definitely in the very early phases of avoiding plastics in our home!  Do you have any advice regarding replacements for household plastics?  I’d be interested to know if anyone else is swapping out common household items for safer alternatives.

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