A lot of it is harmful to your hormones because it mimics hormones in your body and bonds with your hormone receptors. Some of these hormone mimic/receptor combinations can then be used like they are your normal hormone, thereby making your body have an over-abundance of that particular hormone.
They can also bind with the receptors and make them unusable, thereby decreasing the amount of that usable hormone in your body.
And that’s not all, plastic also majorly pollutes the environment with these endocrine disrupting chemicals, so even if it’s not going straight into your mouth, touching your food, or absorbing into your skin in some way, just the use of plastic products mean more of these chemical in the environment. Yikes!
Plus, landfills… Who likes those? It’s nice when you make very little waste and the stuff you do make can be composted or recycled easily (though some plastic are recyclable, they are not indefinitely recyclable like glass and metal).
Here are some of my top tips to stop using so much plastic. Some are simple, some might take some more forethought and effort. If it seems too hard, just pick ONE thing to start with.
- Change your toothbrush. Most toothbrushes are made with solid plastic, wrapped in plastic, and even have plastic bristles. And you’re supposed to change it every few months! That is a LOT of plastic in a lifetime, and it’s going straight into your mouth. Instead, opt for something like a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush.
- Buy in bulk and bring your own containers. Buying processed food at the store means that not only is the food probably not very good for you, but it also comes wrapped in plastic. Most health food stores and co-ops have a bulk section, where you can get a wide variety of foods. If you use the bulk section, the produce section, and the butcher and deli counters you can eat most of your normal foods without buying any packaging at all. It does take a while to get used to bringing your own containers with you when you go to the store, but soon it becomes second nature. You can use bulk cloth bags (especially convenient if you bike or take public transportation to the store and need less weight) or you can bring your own jars. Just ask at the cash register or customer service to get the “tare” weight before you put any goods into them, otherwise you will have to pay for the jar’s weight, too, and you do not want to do that.
- Keep a “plastic free” kit with you when you aren’t sure about your plans. What do you end up needing when you go out randomly? Do you sometimes stop somewhere for coffee or juice? Bring a mason jar, thermos, or mug. Do you like straws in your drinks when you go out? Get a re-usable straw and remember to tell your server not to include the straw. Do you need napkins or a make-shift bag? A bandanna works well. Real cutlery is always good, because not only is plastic cutlery harmful to you and the environment, it also doesn’t work very well. Are you going out to eat? Bring a jar or lunchbox to put your leftovers in so that you can refuse the Styrofoam or plastic ones given by most restaurants.
- Change your menstrual products. There are a variety of menstrual product you can use other than the typical pad or tampon that is often wrapped in plastic. You can get a menstrual cup, sea sponges, or cloth pads (you can even make your own cloth pads).
- Make your own beauty products. There are very few make-up brands that sell their product in glass or other recyclable/compostable packaging. The only one I can think of is RMS beauty. For the most part, if you want make-up without harmful ingredients and without plastic packaging, you are going to have to make your own. But don’t worry, it’s usually not that hard. I’ve made my own lip stain/lip gloss and mascara.
These are some of the bigger impact steps you can take to reduce your plastic consumption/use. There are ways to make almost zero trash, which is personally what I aim for, but I do a lot of it because I am an eco-nut.