How to Use Less Plastic

Filed under: General Health

I am a big proponent of using less plastic in your daily lives. Plastics contain a ton of problematic chemicals that function as endocrine disruptors, estrogen mimetics, potential carcinogens and who knows what else. Some of these chemicals, like BPA and phthalates, are now being used less and less, with BPA being banned in some states (including Maine).

Even with these dangerous chemicals removed, who knows what else is possibly lurking in these products that just have not been discovered yet? Maybe none, maybe a ton, no one knows.

To avoid the whole situation, especially if you already have hormonal issues, I highly recommend you replace things like plastic waterbottles, coffee mugs, tupperware and more with glass and stainless steel options. While more expensive, they are well worth it in my opinion (especially with a newborn).

Now whenever I tell people to replace their plastic items, they always ask what products should they replace them with? Well I will outline the products I like and use, and maybe help explain which ones might better suit your needs.

Water Bottles

We have two different types. We have Klean Kanteens with sport caps, which are awesome when you are moving or exercising as they don’t spill when you drink them. The only downside to the Klean Kanteens I have is they have a narrow mouth which makes it tough to fit in ice cubes or protein powder. The bottles come in multiple sizes, and I like the 27oz and the 40oz options. They do now make a wide mouth option, which you can get up to a 64oz bottle. However I have never used these so I can’t comment, but they are probably great.

The other style I really like is by Nalgene, as it is a wide-mouth top, and the bottom bevels down to fit into cup holders. It comes in 32 and 38oz options. This one easily takes ice cubes and protein powder, and is also a little easier to clean. The only downside is the lack of a sport cap option. Otherwise, they are great.

Coffee Mugs

I am a big fan of the OXO Good Grips LiquiSeal Travel Mug. The body is all stainless steel and it is completely leak-proof. It will keep your coffee hot for hours! It also fits nicely into cupholders and is aesthetically pleasing. Anna and I each have one for coffee or tea, and we both love them.

Tupperware

Now this is a big one. People will keep their tupperware for years, despite the fact that microwaving your food in plastic is most definitely not a good idea, as it will leach out a lot of unwanted chemicals from the plastic. I am not really a fan of the microwave in general, but that is another topic for another day. Even beyond just microwaving, having fats sit in plastic will also leach out more unwanted chemicals from that plastic tupperware. This is a problem, but an easy one to fix.

I love the glass Pyrex No Leak Lids. They are completely leak-proof, the lids are BPA-free, and the containers are freezer, microwave, and dishwasher (top rack) safe. Plus they have a little vent in the lid so you can keep it on if you do put it in the microwave, or when storing them you can keep it open so they don’t get that musty smell if there was any water left in them. Seriously, they are awesome. I recommend the 8 piece set, which comes with a 7-cup bowl, two 4-cup bowls and a 2-cup bowl. Depending on your needs, I would get 2-3 sets of them, and you will be set for years.

Miscellaneous

The water bottle, coffee mug and tupperware are the big 3 in removing plastic from your life, but there are certainly other areas where it can sneak in. Beware the many canned items have BPA in their can lining, so look into higher quality products. For example, tuna is a big offender, so try Wild Planet tuna. Their cans are BPA free.

Another item is a tea kettle, I like the Breville Ikon Stainless Steel Kettle.

If anyone has any other items they like, or other ways to get plastic out of their lives, please chime in!

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Posted on June 6th, 2011 by Brian St. Pierre

24 Comments

  1. Glenn Says:

    Brian,
    Good post! I’ve been using Pyrex for a while, but was not aware of the No Leak Lids product line. I will definitely pick some up. Btw, I’m a hiker/camper, where weight is a major issue. People might like to know that Nalgene plastic water bottles are also BPA-free.

  2. Jay Says:

    Hi Brian,

    I am been a big fan of your blog, and have been following it for a while now, you changed my opinion on post workout shakes and I now have smoothies. To the matter at hand, one thing struck while reading this blog, when you said,

    “To avoid the whole situation, especially if you already have hormonal issue”

    Do you think plastics could be a possible contributor to acne. I know mine is hormonal based, since my sebum levels are very high for a 24 yr old male, and anti-DHT ingredients like Nizarol work for me. I know plastics release BPA and that is estrogenic, but does that picture fit in with higher DHT levels.

    Thanks,

    Jay

  3. Von Says:

    I got myself a 27 oz Klean Kanteen a couple months ago. And I must say, it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Saves me a lot of money (and walks to the water fountain too).

  4. Mitch Says:

    I will add that most commercial Coffee makers have plastic parts that boiling water comes into contact with.

    I’ve gone to a Glass French Coffee Press that has been wonderful. An alternative could be a coffee maker that is BPA free or a stainless steel version (not sure if these exist?).

  5. Stuff You Should Read: 6/13/11 | Eric Cressey Says:

    [...] How to Use Less Plastic – While he was working with us at Cressey Performance, Brian St. Pierre really did a good job of bringing to light the problems with using a lot of plastic in packing and storing one’s healthy food options.  In this post, he talks about how to reduce the amount of plastic you use. [...]

  6. Lisa Says:

    Unfortunately there are many chemicals in our everyday life that can disrupt hormones, from the Tricolsan in your toothpaste to the Teflon in your frying pan. I would love to find more stainless steel containers for lunch bags. Glass isn’t the best option when packing lunches for kids.

  7. Mike Says:

    Mitch, most percolator coffee maker will be all in stainless – at least those usually found in camping/outdoor stores like this one http://www.rei.com/product/765758/rei-campware-percolator-12-cup

  8. Ryan Says:

    We bought a Klean Kanteen kids bottle with sippy cup spout but our 12 month old just likes to chew on it so far!

  9. Rees Says:

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xg34yu_plastic-planet-documentary-trailer-hd_shortfilms

  10. The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition » Blog Archive » A Comprehensive Day in the Life Says:

    [...] Now begins the actual preparations for my day. First thing I do is make my yogurt and protein powder meal. This gets mixed into a Pyrex No Leak glass tupperware, avoiding any potential issues with plastic. [...]

  11. The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition » Blog Archive » President’s Cancer Panel Report Says:

    [...] According to the report federal chemical laws are weak, funding for research and enforcement is inadequate, and regulatory responsibilities are split among too many agencies.  There are about 80,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, but federal regulators have assessed only about 200 for safety. The report states that not only do chemicals act individually, but many chemicals interact with each other, intensifying the effect, and some people have a genetic makeup or early life exposure that makes them susceptible to environmental contaminants. These chemicals and contaminants might trigger cancer by a variety of means – they can damage DNA, disrupt hormones, cause inflammation, or turn genes on or off.The report singles out bisphenol A (BPA), radon, formaldehyde and benzene. BPA is something I have talked about before and is a chemical to stay away from. It is used in polycarbonate plastic and can linings and is mostly unregulated in the US (though this is changing). Beyond BPA other chemicals in plastic also function as estrogen mimetics, so it is in your best interests to decrease your plastic use. Fortunately for you I laid out a plan on How to Use Less Plastic. [...]

  12. Jason Says:

    Brian,

    Aren’t the Pyrex No Leak Lids (the actual lid part) made of plastic?

  13. Brent Says:

    How do you get around plastic shaker bottles?

  14. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Brent,
    I use stainless steel bottles, like I outlined in the post. The widemouth are the way to go in that regard.

    Brian

  15. Brian St. Pierre Says:

    Jay,

    I am unsure, but it certainly won’t hurt to decrease the plastic in your life.

    Mitch,

    I am not sure either.

    Lisa,

    This is true, but there are a lot of stainless steel options on Amazon, even for kids.

    Ryan,

    We plan on doing the same!

    Jason,

    Yes they are, but very little of your food actually touches that. The lids are also BPA free to boot.

    Brian

  16. The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition » Blog Archive » Prenatal Nutrition Says:

    [...] How to Use Less Plastic [...]

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  21. Oskari Says:

    After reading your post I think I may have to insevt in these jars. I am not into canning but you can never be too safe with storing food in unsafe plastic. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I am grateful. Plus, the canning jars are cute

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