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greenliving Go Plastic-Free





Looking around us, we see plastic everywhere.

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esides the custom- ary food and product packaging, plus store bags, consider all the nooks and crannies of our lives that plastic now perme- ates: eating utensils; baby and pet toys; computer keyboards and accessories; pens; eyeglasses; athletic footwear; backpacks; light- ers; beauty care and pill containers; household cleaning bottles; ice cube trays; shaving razors; tool handles; hairbrushes and toothbrush- es—even some facial scrubs, shampoos and chewing gum. Beth Terry, author of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Habit and How You Can Too, points out compelling rea- sons to take personal action. In 2007, this Oakland, California, resident saw a photo of the decomposed carcass of a Laysan albatross riddled with plastic bits in an article on water pollution. “For several seconds, I could not breathe,” she writes. This seminal mo- ment led her to further research, by which she realized, “This plague of plastic chemicals is harming everyone, and especially the most vulnerable members of our planet—children and animals—and that is both unacceptable and unfair.” She’s been working on go-

“The biggest lesson since

I started is the joy of less—of buying less stuff and making do with what I

already have.” ~ Beth Terry

ing plastic-free ever since. “I made a game of it; a fun, creative, step-by-step challenge,” she advises. “You can’t go through the house and think you can get rid of all plastic imme- diately. As items get used up, you’ll find alterna- tives.” Once we are in the habit of staying alert to the plastic scourge, we’ll naturally spot opportunities for healthy change-ups.

Science Sounds the Alarm In 2011, Harvard School of Public Health researchers made news by discovering that consuming one serving of canned food daily for five days led to significantly elevated urinary levels of bisphenol-A (BPA). This plastic and epoxy resin ingredient is found in the liners of many food and drink cans and sometimes in plastic bottles. It’s known to be a serious endocrine disrupter. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, altered functions of reproductive organs and other ailments have been linked to high BPA levels in several studies, in- cluding one cited in Endocrine Reviews journal. The Manchester Guardian also recently reported that the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety has stated

Game On: Ways to Shrink Our Footprint

by Randy Kambic

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