Food packaging has simply gotten out of hand, and for many of us, it’s constantly in our hands. It’s hard to buy anything these days without it being wrapped in plastic. Even organic produce often comes displayed on styrofoam trays covered in plastic. And while some plastic may seem necessary, this excess packaging is not sustainable or good for your health, the environment, or animals. Exposure to toxins when chemicals in food packaging transfer to foods is a real problem that many people may not even be aware of. The good news is that many environmental and health-friendly packaging alternatives are becoming more popular. Many of these eco-friendly options are biodegradable and use plant-based extracts.
Here are toxic food packagings to avoid and eco-friendly options that are better for the planet and your health!
How Toxic Food Packaging Affects Your Health
Source: Natural Cures/YouTube
Toxins such as lead, cadmium, and mercury are found within many plastic products, together with carcinogens such as diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP). Aside from being linked to cancers, immune system problems, and birth defects, these toxins have also been associated with childhood developmental issues. Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the manufacture of many plastic products.
For something that is supposed to be quick and convenient, there is nothing quick or convenient about the complete lifecycle of a plastic object. It spends a mere fraction of its existence serving a purpose. And the rest of the time, you’ll find, it is a nuisance and threatens the health of the environment, animals, and even people. While it would be nice to think that all plastic ends up in a recycling plant once it is done being used, that simply is not true. As has been mentioned, a majority of plastics don’t end up making it to a recycling facility to be manufactured into a new object.
Although many people wrap their food in aluminum foil when their on the go or before it goes in the oven, what they may not realize is that some of the foil will leach into your meal – and this could be bad for your health. Especially when cooking with acidic foods like lemon and tomato juice, aluminum is even more likely to leach into your food. High levels of aluminum have been linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia.
Polystyrene Takeout Boxes
It’s no surprise that fast food uses a lot of packaging. From wrappers and straws to boxes and bags, fast food packaging is a big problem. Polystyrene, in particular, is the most common food waste. What’s more, polystyrene takes an unbelievable 900 years to break down in a landfill!
You may be wondering what options are healthy and sustainable? Glass containers, paper boxes, stainless steel, and bamboo have gained popularity in recent years. Not only do they get the job done just as well as plastic, but they are eco-friendly and don’t pose any risk to human health.
Glass containers are reusable, recyclable, durable, easy to clean, and come in many forms, such as glass bottles and transportable food containers.
Food-grade stainless steel is another great choice for food and drinks storage. It’s durable, reusable, recyclable, and heat resistant, and it is also great for on-the-go meals.
Bamboo is another safe choice loved by many. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s heat resistant and is available in many portable plastic-free containers to choose from. From jars to boxes, and serving bowls, bamboo does it all.
There are simple swaps we can make to avoid toxic packaging and the negative health effects that could follow. Utilizing reusable containers, buying products from companies making an effort for better alternatives, and recycling, reusing, or upcycling when possible is a great place to start. When it comes to food for our health and the health of the planet, it simply makes sense to pay attention to our daily habits to ensure we are not doing any harm. As you can see, the convenient option in terms of storing food is not always the best. It’s important to keep in mind that small swaps can make a big difference, especially with items we are using every day!
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- Oceana Reveals Amazon’s Increased Use of Plastic Packaging
- Is it Really Worth the Convenience? 6 Ways Plastic is Harming Animals, the Planet, and Us
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take the initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that raise awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
- Support Independent Media: Being publicly funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and essential stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!