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Plastics Kill Animals

It is our responsibility as a people and as a nation to reduce plastic waste. The toxins released from the manufacture, use, and disposal of plastics have been shown to be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.

Some plastic is not easily recyclable and some not at all. It can break into ever tinier pieces which enter the air, absorb pollutants, and is eventually washed out to sea where it can become trapped in currents in our oceans forming huge ocean ‘landfills’ or gyres.

The use of plastics in our world continues to escalate and so is the tremendous waste involved. Some plastics play an essential part in our lives but the knowledge of the devastating negative effects of the use and disposal of so much plastic must be emphasized.

Plastics are too pervasive and even essential in our world to even consider going back to 'pre-plastic times.' We do not have to stop using plastic but we can take steps to reduce plastic waste by reducing our usage wherever possible, reusing what we have, and recycling or trashing our plastics safely.


Our responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to preserve the earth for them. Learn about which plastics are safer than others by referring to the Plastic Identification Codes from the Society of The Plastics Industry (SPI).

These codes are numbers enclosed by the recycling symbol and are usually found on the bottom of a plastic product. Knowing what these codes stand for can tell us several things:

  • The toxic chemicals that might be used in the plastic.
  • How likely the plastic is to leach out.
  • How bio-degradable the plastic is.
  • How safe the plastic is.

If a code is not present on a plastic container, the manufacturer should be contacted for information.


Below are some suggested steps we can all take to help reduce plastic waste and its negative effects on our health and our environment:

At the Grocery Store:

  1. Read labels and know the plastic codes.
  2. Use reusable shopping bags or reusable cotton sacks for bulk items and other groceries.
  3. Choose products not made from or packaged in plastic wherever possible. The baskets berries come in are generally not a problem, nor are the bags frozen produce comes in because they are not subject to heat.
  4. Get fresh meat and cheese wrapped in waxed butcher paper, instead of plastic and foam. You can purchase this paper for home storage as well from online sites such as Amazon.
  5. Buy fresh milk in bottles, not plastic-coated cartons or jugs, if possible. Empty bottles can often be refilled.
  6. Buy eggs in cardboard instead of polystyrene.
  7. Buy foods in bulk when possible, preferably fresh, whole foods at Farmers Markets or Co-ops or join CSAs.
  8. Avoid buying canned foods and beverages, including canned baby formulas. (Note: Some canned food products are now being offered in BPA-free cans.)

At Home:

  1. Read labels and know the plastic codes.
  2. Store foods, reheat, and freeze leftovers in glass containers, not plastic bags.
  3. Replace plastic kitchenware with glass or ceramic ones.
  4. Use stainless steel or high-heat-resistant nylon for cooking utensils.
  5. Use reusable freezer bags and white paper freezer rolls (waxed butcher paper, available online at Amazon and other sites) to replace those zip lock freezer bags.
  6. Use cloth diapers.
  7. Look for a non-toxic toothbrush and if possible, learn to make your own toothpaste as well (to avoid toothpaste containers).
  8. Look for toxin-free baby products. Recycle or reuse whenever possible and safe. Use baby bottles made of tempered glass or polypropylene (#5). (These do not contain bisphenol-A).
  9. Replace your child’s plastic lunchbox with a cloth or stainless steel one.
  10. When and if possible, check online or on our website for making your own non-toxic cleaners and store in glass jars and bottles. The spray pump from a plastic bottle may be able to be screwed onto a recycled glass vinegar bottle.
  11. Keep plastic products away from heat. Heat tends to promote the leaching of chemicals. Even the safer types of plastics may leach chemicals due to heat or prolonged storage. Don't leave bottled water in hot cars.
  12. Bottled drinks should be used quickly as chemicals from the plastic leach over time. Don't buy plastic bottles of drinks if they have been on store shelves for a long time.
  13. Taste. If your drink has even a bit of a plastic taste to it, don't drink it!
  14. Recycle or reuse whenever possible and safe.
  15. See Soft Landing and Amazon for non-toxic products suggested above and below, especially for baby products.

At Work:

  1. Read labels and know your plastic codes.
  2. Bring your own mug or stainless steel thermos for coffee.
  3. Bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles, instead of buying bottled water. If you must buy water, do so only in reusable 5-gallon polycarbonate (less toxic) containers, but keep in a cool, dark place. 
  4. Do not reuse plastic drink bottles that were intended for single use.
  5. Recycle or reuse whenever possible and safe.

At Restaurants:

  1. Take your own non-plastic container to restaurants for leftovers.

At the Drycleaner:

  1. Request no plastic wrap on your dry cleaning.

At Stores:

  1. Have your receipt emailed to you or have the cashier drop it into your bag. Only handle it with gloves.

At the Dentist:

  1. Ask for BPA-free dental sealants and composite fillings.


  1. Search the Internet for information on ways to reuse plastic bags and other plastic items. The making of knitting material from plastic bags or 'Plarn' is one example.


If you cannot avoid using some plastics…

  • Limit your use of plastics.
  • Choose glass when you can.
  • Always recycle or throw away containers once they start to crack or break down.
  • Do not use them in microwave or put them in the dishwasher.
  • Do not wash them with harsh chemicals.

For more information on reducing plastic as well as sustainability in general, a good reference is Sustainability Starts at Home – How to Save Money While Saving the Planet.



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