Dear plastic, it’s over: 10 ways to end your relationship with plastic

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Dear Plastic,

It’s over. It’s not you. It’s you. I deserve way better. From the moment we met, this was an unhealthy relationship. I was so innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world back then – how was I to know that you were no good? But now I know better.

So you say you’ve gone all BPA-free. What you don’t know is that I know that you’re hiding the fact that you’ve just replaced BPA with its nasty cousin, BPS! What a joke. You’ll never change your evil ways, will you?

The bottom line is that you’re toxic, and so is this relationship. I need to take better care of myself and end this here and now. And if I take a long hard look at things, isn’t this just a relationship of convenience anyways? 

xoxo Nadia

10 ways to end your relationship with plastic:

  1. Stop buying bottled water: it is not worth the monetary or health costs (to read more, click here). Instead, invest in a glass water bottle and water filter (check out EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide for help making the choice that’s right for you). The upfront costs will pay off the in long run.
  2. Always choose a glass baby bottle. Always.
  3. Limit processed foods a much as possible. Processed foods can become contaminated with plasticizers during any part of the preparation process, both before packaging and also as a result of packaging.
  4. When provided the option of purchasing a processed/prepared grocery item in a can, plastic bottle or glass jar, always choose glass. While avoiding the plastic bottle may be obvious here, what is not so obvious is the fact that cans are lined with plasticizers to keep from rusting. Studies have shown that cans leach more than double the BPA than plastic baby or drinking water bottles, though far fewer of the former tout the “BPA-free” label in comparison to the latter.
  5. Invest in a quality set of glass food storage containers. For kids, consider using a stainless steel lunch box.
  6.  If you frequent a coffee shop, use a reusable ceramic or stainless steel travel mug, which will not only decrease your environmental footprint, but also your body burden as you will be avoiding the plasticizers used to coat the paper coffee cup as well as those in the plastic lid.
  7. Make your own cleaning products and store them in an upclycled glass bottle turned spray bottle. Harsh chemicals readily leech petrochemicals found in plastics, adding to their chemical cornucopia. However, the same can go for vinegar and lemon (common in DIY household cleaners) so clean up your act completely by going glass.
  8. Immediately tear down that PVC shower curtain and buy a non-PVC curtain! Even if you choose a PEVA curtain, it off-gasses far fewer VOCs than that nasty PVC curtain (to read more, click here).
  9. Invest in quality reusable grocery bags and reusable produce bags. Many people have made the switch to the former but not the latter, but it’s time to make the break completely! (If you don’t currently have either, check out this combo pack.) Just remember to wash your bags fairly often.
  10. Choose loose tea over bagged tea. Tea bags – whether a plastic mesh or paper bag – are coated with plasticizers that break down after coming in contact with boiling water, which is, uh, what tea is supposed to do (to read more, click here).

The list could really be endless but I need to draw the line somewhere! What other suggestions do you have?

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Share Your Thoughts





  1. these are all great ideas. i too try to refuse plastic wherever i go and always
    love seeing more and more people doing the same~
    beth terry’s book “plastic free” is also a great resource and goes into detail about the many ways plastic is impacting marine life and the environment and us!
    thanks for sharing.
    kim

    May 22, 2013 • 5:10 am •
  2. […] To learn what you can do to end your toxic relationship with plastic, click here. […]

    May 22, 2013 • 6:33 pm •
  3. Kimberly

    How about plastic wrap that we use in the microwave? Zip lock bags? Chinese food containers?

    May 22, 2013 • 9:38 pm •
  4. Glad I came across this blog (via VGN), loving your posts 🙂

    May 25, 2013 • 11:37 am •
  5. Cindy

    So even BPA free bottles and sippy cups are not safe? This makes me feel badly that my kids have/are using plastic bottles.

    May 29, 2013 • 4:02 pm •
  6. Nadia

    Hi, Cindy. Unfortunately not. I suggest you read this post: http://bodyunburdened.com/is-bpa-free-safe/ Glass is always best, and fortunately there are a lot of great options out there! P.S. Don’t feel bad! How are we supposed to know absolutely everything when there is just SO MUCH to consider? But now you do know and you can find some healthier options 🙂

    May 30, 2013 • 11:12 am •
  7. Dawn Amber

    Hi! FANTASTIC article, thank you for sharing!

    May 30, 2013 • 2:34 pm •
  8. […] as a substitute more often. (On a side note, I also like a buy peanut butter in a glass jar to avoid chemicals in plastics). However, if you are particularly concerned about aflatoxins consider buying Arrowhead Mills […]

    June 3, 2013 • 9:12 pm •
  9. […] as a substitute more often. (On a side note, I also like a buy peanut butter in a glass jar to avoid chemicals in plastics. I’m sure this is no surprise!) However, if you are particularly concerned about aflatoxins […]

    June 3, 2013 • 9:35 pm •
  10. […] These chemicals that are used as plasticizers (ugh, I hate plastic!) and solvents were found in water used by 5 million people. Phthalates have been linked to birth […]

    September 6, 2013 • 7:14 am •
  11. Just wanted to drop in and say I love your writing! You have a great sense of humor, but you also have some great suggestions I had not thought of in this piece. I really try and watch the plastic stuff, too, and everyone has been laughing at me for years but, alas, I keep on . . .

    October 3, 2013 • 6:14 pm •
  12. There is a really awesome product made by a woman in Vermont called “Bee’s Wrap” I use it instead of plastic wrap. It is a muslin covered in bee’s wax that will mold in the warmth of your hand. Check out her site…I love this product and I no longer need to use plastic wrap or ziplock bags.

    http://www.beeswrap.com/

    October 11, 2013 • 1:45 pm •
  13. margaret

    I grin when I read things like this; here we are back to reusable glass containers just like when I was a kid, before plastic… (Yeah, I guess that makes me older than some others…!) But I hate bags that have the handles on the ends instead of the sides, and why would anyone make a shopping bag without handles long enough to carry over your shoulder?

    October 11, 2013 • 2:11 pm •
  14. Linda Tyler

    I’m wondering about the materials used in the Food Saver bags.

    October 11, 2013 • 2:38 pm •
  15. Satoko

    What are the safest cookware? Xtreme ceramic? Visions? LeCreuset?

    October 11, 2013 • 10:03 pm •
  16. […] manufacturers have replaced BPA with its chemical-cousin, BPS, which has the same nasty record. See 10 ways to end your relationship with plastic for ideas and […]

    October 15, 2013 • 9:23 pm •
  17. Amanda

    I began having my babies at age 18 – I had no idea of the damage that plastics could do back then. It makes me sick to my stomach when I remember heating baby formula in a plastic bottle in the microwave – what did I do to my children’s futures? I guess knowledge is power though – when we know better, we can do better.

    November 19, 2013 • 4:31 pm •
  18. […] … by avoiding plastics with codes 3, 6, or 7 as much as possible, as well as generally reducing your exposure to all plastics. Check out these 10 ways to end your relationship with plastic. […]

    December 4, 2013 • 11:26 pm •
  19. Donna Stanley

    I stopped using plastic several years ago. My friends and family just laughed and said I was nuts. Glad to see more articles on this subject. Keep on laughing friends and family – I will stick to my guns!

    December 11, 2013 • 7:37 am •
  20. Michael

    For the FoodSavers out there – switch from the plastic bags to using regular canning jars. The bags are plastic and pricey. You get much more bank for the buck out of the glass jars – reusable and many sizes from 4 oz to 1 gallon,

    December 11, 2013 • 7:06 pm •
  21. […] safe (*ahem* BPA-free) it’s really not (BPS-free is a bunch of B(P)S). Check out these 10 ways to end your relationship with plastic and pick at least one way to rid your life of this […]

    January 7, 2014 • 2:16 pm •
  22. Love this one! Shopping for a glass bottle at this moment. I knew I need to do it, but your post gave me a good push to do it! Thanks! (of course, I’ll make an effort on all those points)

    However, I normally use plastic shopping bags for trash later on. What are your thoughts on that? How do you take your trash out if not using plastic bags?

    January 15, 2014 • 10:12 am •
  23. David M

    There is some pretty good ideas here, but what I would consider to be some inaccurate information as well. Your use of “plasticizers” is used in some applications that don’t apply. Please continue to educate, but I hope you use trustworthy sources. Also, take a look at how plastics have changed our lives. From vehicles, long-term food storage, food safety, medical procedures, etc. The list goes on and on. You wouldn’t be able to do these posts if it weren’t for plastic. Yes, there are things that aren’t great about plastic. This goes for almost everything in our world, including glass and wood. Rather than condemn them, why not focus on education. Spend time focusing on re-using, educating, and continuing to find ways to improve the recycling channels. After all, glass consumes approximately TWICE as much energy to produce and recycle than plastic does. That is just my two cents from someone who doesn’t condemn things making our lives better.

    April 28, 2014 • 10:40 pm •
  24. Nadia

    I’m very curious as to which applications you feel do not apply.

    Also, just because something is widely-used does not make it inherently safe or “good.”

    The whole purpose of this blog is education, but people have to be willing to opening their eyes and accept the fact that convenient may not always be best.

    April 28, 2014 • 11:08 pm •
  25. Kay

    I have a question…I have mixed feelings about plastics, I feel like as much as I try to avoid plastics at all costs, it isn’t possible and the stress that can come on by thinking about how to avoid plastics or things that have had contact with plastics will cause more damage to my health than the plastics themselves…My question is this…we drink water everyday..what type of drinking water do you drink or recommend? Water jugs are stored in plastic bottles, Brita’s filter water with a plastic filtration system and poring tap water into a glass isn’t any better, who knows what is in tap water that isn’t desirable…Millions of people pee out their prescription drugs into the city water which is filtered but to what extent really, and passes through pipes that may or may not be releasing certain metals as some pipes are wayyy older than others into the water so I guess my thoughts are simple, which alternative is best really if you look at it that way? Water that has been in contact with plastic, or tap water that may or may not have had contact with plastic and may or may not have traces of prescription drugs in it due to the population peeing them out? I kinda feel like this is a battle that can’t be won unfortunately once you really read into it all…The stress of trying to constantly work around it might be more damaging health wise (stress can have a much worse impact on our health)… I mean no disrespect, just genuinely posing the question…what water source do you suggest?

    July 7, 2014 • 12:04 pm •
  26. Nadia

    Well half of most bottled water is simply tap water – it hasn’t been purified, just packaged in little plastic bottles. I dislike these bottles as much for environmental reasons as health reasons.

    I use and wholeheartedly recommend Berkey water filters. I talk more about the necessity of water filtration and list some suggestions here: http://bodyunburdened.com/whats-in-your-water/

    I don’t think that healthy living needs to cause stress. It’s simply educating yourself and making decisions based on what you’ve learned. Does most education cause stress? The news causes me stress, but I like to stay informed about what is happening in the world so I continue to read the newspaper and watch the evening news.

    July 7, 2014 • 2:29 pm •
  27. […] that comes in a glass jar. This is the honey I own and it checks off all of the boxes (you know how I feel about plastic). Yes, it looks pricey and it is. But this 11.5 oz jar will last a VERY long time, particularly if […]

    July 8, 2014 • 8:48 pm •
  28. Joanna

    Are there any glass water bottles that don’t have plastic caps? All of the ones I’ve seen still have plastic caps/straws. Thanks!

    August 12, 2014 • 12:54 pm •
  29. Mie Pedersen

    In Denmark we just drink water right from the tap, no filtering necessary. Regardless, many people enjoy the convenience of a bottle of cold water from the fridge while on the road. To save money and the environment (transportation!) I always carry a bottle with me and I refill it at work, but once a day I recycle my bottle and grab a new one from the fridge. Just a step in the right direction! Plus, I am sure the sweet woman cooking lunch and refilling the fridge with drinks appreciates less bottles to carru.

    August 16, 2014 • 2:46 am •
  30. Amanda

    What kind of water bottle do you recommend for a clumsy person who always drops things?

    December 27, 2014 • 11:16 pm •
  31. Andria

    Target has a selection of glass water bottles where the lid is plastic but your lips only touch glass. No leaks and won’t break if you drop. They also have ceramic travel mugs for hot beverages. The brand is Ello. Each of the two is $14.99 and there are multiple colors available.

    January 1, 2015 • 11:12 pm •
  32. Thanks for this–I wrap my sandwich in an Abeego (here: http://abeego.com/) and love it–it sounds similar to your food wrap. I also love Weck jars, and drink from stainless steel water bottles, when glass isn’t convenient (hiking, for example). We have found a stainless sippy cup, which does have some plastic parts, but mostly silicone. I really love the idea of switching cleaners to glass bottles, and using the spray nozzle attachment–great idea!

    February 19, 2015 • 11:10 am •
  33. I love your intro to this post, hilarious. Good tips too. I definitely have cut plastic drastically from my life (made the switch to glass leftover containers and glass water bottles to name a few) but it’s definitely a challenge to cut plastic completely out of my life. As Franks Red Hot Sauce would say, “They put that B!3@P on everything”. You buy something, it’s wrapped in plastic. They don’t make it easy for us to be plastic free.

    Here are the glass water bottles I use (I have an older model) http://pureglassbottle.com/ . I have three; I haven’t dropped one yet but I saw a demonstration at the International Green Festival in D.C. a few years ago and I was impressed.

    March 13, 2015 • 11:55 am •
  34. These are such great ideas! I’ve shared them on the Mean Green Blog Hop too so they can be shared even more with my readers! 🙂

    March 13, 2015 • 8:34 pm •
  35. Nadia

    Thanks, Mary!

    March 16, 2015 • 6:50 pm •
  36. Nadia

    LOL no, they do not make it easy. Awesome – thanks for sharing!

    March 16, 2015 • 6:50 pm •
  37. Danielle

    What about kids lunches? Schools don’t allow glass, are there metal sandwich containers on the market?

    October 4, 2015 • 8:19 pm •
  38. Nadia

    Great question. Yes! There are quite a few stainless steel lunch box options: http://amzn.to/1VB3ymh You could place them in a cute fabric bag so it looks more “normal” 🙂

    And this one is a complete lunchbox for kids though definitely pricey: http://amzn.to/1OfrzPb

    October 5, 2015 • 9:28 am •
  39. […] possible. Remember: BPA-free is a load of B(P)S and not necessarily as safer option. See these 10 Ways to End Your Relationship With Plastic for specific tips and […]

    November 3, 2016 • 4:56 pm •