I’ve been wondering how to reduce plastic in my life.

Plastic is everywhere and my wife and I have started to make a conscious effort to limit it.

I’ve been thinking about one of the fundamentals of good nutrition; that it should be sustainable for you and the planet, and that usually what is best for you is also best for the planet.

The effect of plastic waste on the environment has been highlighted recently in the media, and to be honest it has been in my mind since about 2010 when I first began to read about the effect of plastic on the health of myself, my family and my clients.

Okay, so the environmental impact  that plastic has is clear. But why else would I want to reduce plastic in my life?

It seems that plastics creep into our environment in many ways, many of which are not always obvious. The implications xeno-oestrogens – foreign substances that mimic the action of estrogen in the body – have on the health if individuals are broad, but include oestrogen toxicity, increased risks of cancers and unwanted weight gain.

 

Plastic And Xeno-Oestrogen Containing Body Products

  • Make-up
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotions and sun cream
  • Shampoo and soap
  • Perfume
  • Hair products
  • Nail polish and remover

 

Plastics Containing Household Products

  • Washing powder
  • Windows cleaner
  • Dish washing products
  • All-purpose cleaner and solvents
  • Cooker and oven cleaners

 

I’m not saying to clear your house out, because exposure to xeno-oestrogens in our daily life is inevitable. However, if you are aware of the products in your house, and when it comes to replacing them you might be able to find plastic free alternatives.

 

How To Reduce Plastic In My Life

 

Here are 10 ways my wife and I have tried to reduce plastic in our lives. It takes a little forward thinking – she is better at it than me – but it isn’t very difficult. A couple of times I have forgotten my bag, and had to walk home or get to the car clutching just slightly too many items. Usually eggs or butter or an assortment of vegetables, and of course a present for my wife.

 

10 Ways To Reduce Oestrogen Exposure

 

  1. Eat Organic Food. By doing this you will avoid oestrogenic pesticides.
  2. Use Natural Cleaning Products. Be aware of using chemical cleaners. Just because it says ‘green’ on the label does not necessarily mean that oestrogen mimicking compounds aren’t present.
  3. Aim For Natural Body Products. Again, be aware of the words like ‘natural’ on the label. As with chemical cleaners, personal care products may contain nasty ingredients. Check the label for DBP, DEP, DEHP, BzBP, and DMP.
  4. Become Air Freshener And Scented Candle Savvy. While some may be better than others, containing essential oils for example, some contain hormone-altering chemicals.
  5. Limit plastic containers for food and water. Aim instead for alternative items such as glass, metal, bamboo and ceramic, or at the very least BPA free plastic. Why? Some plastic contains BPA, which mimics oestrogen.
  6. If You Do Use Plastic, Don’t Heat It. Try not to heat, microwave or leave plastic containers in the direct sunlight. High temperatures results in BPA transferring more easily from plastic to food. In an ideal world use glass containers.
  7. Beware Of Till Receipts. Paper receipts often contain BPA. That smooth texture that receipts have make them ideal for… well… printing receipts. However, it has been shown that cashiers have elevated BPA levels.
  8. Use Cloth Bags Over Plastic Ones. I know, I often end up forgetting a bag, or have a impulse purchase and no bag to take it home in. If you forget your cloth bags, opt for paper if you can, or just carry the item – no bag.
  9. Eat Curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and is found in the spice turmeric. It has been suggested that eating curcumin can reduce chemical oestrogen-induced growth of cancer cells as well as improving the liver’s detox process.
  10. Consume Limonene. Limonene is a powerful antioxidant that is abundant in the oil of citrus fruit and tomatoes. It has been linked to increased enzyme activity needed in the liver to detoxify oestrogen.

 

Today I only wanted to share how I have tried to reduce plastic in my life. This is a start but in reality is only the tip of the iceberg.

Do I eat solely organic produce, never use plastic bags, and always pass on the till reciept? Of course I don’t, but I do try to move in the right direction.

 

If You’d Like To Reduce Plastic Exposure In Your Life

 

I am going to reduce plastic in my life, but by no means imposing my views on you.

My personal belief is that we all need to reduce plastic waste in terms of the environment but like many of us this is a journey. I am a long way off being plastic free in my life.

Plastic Wrapped Broccoli - Reduce Plastic In My LifeI shop at Aldi for example, where a large proportion of their vegetables are wrapped in plastic.

The alternative is to re-mortgage and do 100% of my shopping in my local green grocer or farmers market, and only buy local produce. In reality we do both, but I am sorry, I do buy plastic wrapped broccoli from Aldi on occasion.

In fairness to my local veg shop, it is awesome quality and not more expensive except for a few items. In terms of plastic reduction they use paper bags, they don’t wrap anything in plastic, and you get some interesting and seasonal produce.

But sometimes you just want to get a ‘big shop’ done in one go, and Aldi is helpful for this.

Planned Inconvenience

Going off on a tangent a little… If you’ve ever heard me talk of planned inconvenience, walking to a local grocers, delicatessen or butchers shop to get your weekly shopping is a great example. You have to carry everything. It might be more expensive. They might not have everything in one place…

But the EXPERIENCE is richer.

You walk there. Maybe you’ll meet someone or see something interesting. You get to support a local business and have a conversation with the business owner about… how you’re trying to reduce plastic in your life… or any other topic.

In addition you get to see your neighbourhood at a human pace, not stuck in traffic, or zooming past when you’re no longer stuck in traffic.

And you get to dust the cobwebs after a day in the office, exercise your limbs and even break into sweat carrying everything back. PLUS, assuming you didn’t forget your cloth bag, rucksack or onya bag (yes I have an onya bag) you’ll come home with far less plastic waste.

 

Is Plastic Exposure A Priority For You?

 

We’re all busy with a million things on the go and in your and my reality we might not even recognise plastic exposure as a ‘thing’. We have other things to be getting on with right now. Things that need attention right now.

Perhaps this topic would become more tangible for you and I think  of this in terms of our own health and the health of our families. The health implications all this plastic exposure is having on us is significant – whether it’s aromatization, oestrogen dominance increase risks of cancers or unwanted weight gain.

Next Steps To Reduce Plastic In My Life

If you feel you want to make a change but feel overwhelmed then take it slowly. We all have enough to think about already! In the spirit of One Habit Coaching, taking small steps away from plastic and developing habits over time sees big and lasting change.  The only way to see any change at all is to start. Start somewhere. Think about your life and start in an area that you know is relevant to you. Try to start with a small change, with something you believe to be a problem for you.

I’ll start with the plastic covered broccoli at Aldi.

Hope this helps,

Nico.

 

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