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No! More! Plastic!

I think this is starting to become more commonplace - I want to keep my food away from plastic (and direct aluminum).

I started by replacing my food storage containers with vintage pyrex - non reactive glass, cute and "green" because it's reusing.

Now I'm starting to notice all the places our food comes into contact with plastic. There's a thread on here where someone is trying to find a coffee maker with no plastic. I'm looking for glass containers that can handle a gallon of milk, orange juice and also water. I like vintage so I have sway that direction.

I have some great ceramic pitchers from the early 20th century (I sell vintage house wares and kitchen ware as a small side business) but I know lead and cadmium could be concerns if the items are used frequently.

Anyone here trying to move away from plastic? What are you using?

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  1. Keep in mind the basic physical properties of metal, glass and plastic

    metal is tough, somewhat elastic, but not compressible, a good conductor of heat and electricity. To get a good water tight metal to metal seal you need well fitting surfaces and lots of pressure. To prevent rust you need paint, enamel, or relatively expensive stainless steel.

    For get really good water tight seals between metal parts, compressible O rings are required (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Sh...). Pressure cookers usually have a rubber or silicone seal.

    glass is hard and brittle. It is even harder to get a water tight seal. Glass stoppers in lab ware have a finely ground (or etched) surface. Rubber stoppers are also common in glass lab ware. Glass is nonconducting (electric) and a relatively poor heat conductor. Think also of how wine bottles are sealed - with compressible cork.

    Plastic can be hard or soft. It can be molded into small shapes. It usually is an insulator (heat and electric).

    What kinds of seals did they use on glass milk bottles? Foil or cardboard?

    What is used for glass jar lids? Now it is mostly plastic. When they used metal lids they had to use some sort of seal, either a waxed cardboard, or more recently a plastic ring. Paper liners worked ok in mayonaise jars, but disintegrated when I reused the jars for liquids.

    With electrical appliances it is virtually impossible to avoid plastic. Plastic has to be used for electrical insulation. Yes, stainless steel can be used for the container that holds the food. But windows, hinges, lids and seals are likely to be plastic, simply because that is best material (mechanically speaking) for the job.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      Yes, plastic is often the best material mechanically, dielectrically, etc., it can also be the best for nonreactivity with food. The material used for the highest purity processes in laboratory equipment is PTFE, for its inertness.

    2. I wouldn't say plastic is nonreactive. Well, it leaches at least. Many are concerned about health implications, especially when plastic is used in a heated setting (ie, re-heating leftovers in the microwave). BPA is a concern of mine (I know it goes beyond plastic, such as canned food). So then, what to do to at least minimize plastic?

      51 Replies
      1. re: Mojave

        Same post different thread. BPA is only in two common plastics, polycarbonate and epoxy. You won't find much epoxy in the kitchen, so it's down to polycarbonate. You shouldn't heat things in polycarbonate as you can extract BPA. BPA doesn't migrate at room temperature, and honestly, other than the reusable water bottles hikers use, there isn't that much in the way of kitchen ware that employs polycarbonate. Botteled water is in PET as are many of the storage containers that you buy in the store. Plastic milk bottles are polyethylene, there's nothing wrong with them either.

        Personally, I'd be far more concerned about lead in the glazes of your early 20th century ceramics than I would be most plastics.

        1. re: mikie

          I was active on a backpacking forum when we started to see news about BPA in Nalgene bottles. The concern did not arise from any problems people experienced (so much of 'simple observation'). Rather it came from a lab where a scientist observed problems in her mice, and came to suspect BPA that was being leached from the Nalgene labware by strong cleaning chemicals and/or sterilizers.

          These days I use PET water bottles, rather than Nalgene, but that is more because of convenience than any safety concern. And I have collection of drinking cups and soup bowls made of Lexan (mostly REI or GSI Outdoors branded).

          http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-b...
          A recent thread on a Backpacking forum on BPA bottles

          1. re: paulj

            You're right paulj, the BPA issue wasn't from short term water storage. I still have Nalgene bottles, I'm not that concerned since the water is cool. I've switched recently to insulated SS bottles I bought at REI. If I'm hiking on a warm day, I like the water to stay cool.

            1. re: mikie

              when the whole BPA issue first raised its ugly head, folks in Florida followed everyone else to buy stainless drinking bottles.

              They found how fast the water gets hot (yes, hot) when left in the car in the summer time, and how you can taste the stainless in warm water, too.

              1. re: sunshine842

                That's why I found insulated SS bottles.

                There have been recent news reports on the health issues of leaving water bottles of any type in the car and letting the water heat up. The higher temperatures provide a breading ground for bacteria and a half full water bottle in a hot car is very unhealthy. I even heard something on the news recently about bringing your office coffee cup home at least evey other day to run through the dishwasher to keep it healthy to drink out of.

                1. re: mikie

                  plus, it's really unpleasant when you get back to the car and take a swig of hot water, particularly on a hot day.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Here in the desert I freeze my water bottles, and put them in an insuladed lunch bag so they stay cold

                  2. re: mikie

                    The insulated stainless steel water bottle and I are joined at the hip. They rank among the best things I have ever discovered. They are such a revelation that I give them as gifts.
                    They don't sweat in humid weather. HURRAY.
                    And they keep hot/icy cold for an entire day.

              2. re: paulj

                Lexan is a brand of polycarbonate and contains BPA. Nalgene is also a brand and has been reformulated to be free of BPA.

                1. re: GH1618

                  That's why I mentioned them in this context.

                  1. re: GH1618

                    I wonder how Nalgene did that? Polycarbonate is based on Bisphenol A and is a repeating unit with benzine rings attached by a carbon atom and an oxygen on the other end. Now I have something to research as that couldn't have been an easy substitution. Thanks,

                  2. re: paulj

                    LEXAN is a trade name for polycarbonate

                    1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                      I also have a couple of polycarbonate contrainers - 2 quart Cambros. These are the clear plastic square containers that Good Eats likes to use for brining. Any restaurant vessel that is clear, and not obviously glass, is probably polycarbonate.

                      http://www.cooksdirect.com/product/ca...

                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                  3. re: mikie

                    BPA migrates into food at room temperature. Look at tomatoes in a can.

                    Stainless steel water bottles aren't necessarily any better either if they are lined inside.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        It's not the heat from canning, it's the acid in the tomatoes. In fact, acid, fat *and* salt all increase the migration/leaching of BPA into food, even at room temperature.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Eden Organics has moved away from BPA lining in most of its canned goods (they say which products on their website, I think), but of course, there's no guarantee that what lining they are using now isn't toxic in some way, but almost no one has been able to solve the problem of how to can tomatoes in something that isn't lined in some kindof plastic. Glass is a better choice, but there is still BPA in the lining of the lids. If you want to avoid BPA in canned goods, I've read that tetrapak (the cardboard) is the best way to go.

                          As far as portable food storage, I haven't really found anything that doesn't leak. I use Rubbermaid Premier (which is BPA free) and I never heat in it or even put hot foods in it.

                          If you're storing stuff at home, you could just use pyrex or glass but just make sure that any plastic lid or plastic wrap doesn't touch your food. It

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            The lining Eden foods uses is from a type of seaweed as I recall. I'll take my chances. But lots of tomato products are being sold in glass or waxed cartons now, too, like Pomi. Just have to check about the lining.

                            1. re: mcf

                              I try to buy the cartons--glass is a better choice than cans, but the underside of the lid is lined with a BPA plastic.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Is it always touching? I think the best we can do is reduce, without making ourselves crazy and producing all our food at home! Crazy.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  and waxed paper and parchment paper? Take a good look at the ingredients....

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Not a problem. Gave me a chance to post about non toxic products. :-)

                                      2. re: mcf

                                        Those are the brands of waxed paper and parchment paper we use too. That aluminum foil might be non-toxic, but it's also non-usable. It doesn't make me crazy to buy Pomi tomatoes, but it makes me crazy to buy that foil! It tears easily, it's super thin and just doesn't seem to mold well to whatever you're wrapping it around.

                                        Do you know of any other brands to recommend?

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          The box of recycled aluminum in my cabinet right now is Reynold's. Been wrapping and unwrapping left over meat loaf for days, each of us more than once so it may be tougher. Recycled never has the strength of the heavy duty stuff, which I use if there's a need for it, too.

                                          I agree with you about the glass jars... I want to reduce exposure while not creating a new burden or source of stress.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I still don't have a clear bead on any toxic effects of silicone in such an application. Have you found anything conclusive anywhere?

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Here's what someone had to say in a different thread... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8016...

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Thanks... for now, I'm pretty comfortable using the parchment, as rare as that is for me.

                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      I just added a post to that thread about trivalent chromium in quilon coating.

                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                        Thank you, Paul, but mcf and I are using parchment treated with silicone: is that toxic? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8921...

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Would it be allowed in food grade applications if it was toxic? I have silicone spatulas, a silicone baking mat. I've nearly finished a role of this brown parchment paper. Silicone baking pans are common. But no doubt someone out there worries about it being artificial and chemical, and therefore, toxic.

                                                          But don't forget, 'toxic' is dosage dependent. Water is harmful in the large quantities and when ingested in the wrong way.

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            they implant silicone into the body every single day for medical purposes -- Not just boob jobs -- IVs, ports for chemotherapy and antibiotic delivery, artificial joints, heart valves, bone and cartilage replacements, facial reconstructions....etc., etc., etc.

                                                            There are an awful lot of people walking around who would be more than happy to tell you that silicon has made their life better, longer, and/or less painful.

                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                              Isn't that slicone, not silicon?

                                                              There are three grades of medical grade silicone, from what I read on a quick search.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                both are accepted spellings, I believe -- one UK and one US, though I'd be hard-put to tell you which was which.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  As I re-read it, my spelling isn't one of the accepted at all!

                                                                  As I understand it, they are not the same substance, though my understanding may be shallow: http://www.wcaslab.com/tech/silicone.htm

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    Hmm. So it's not. I blame the journalists and writers who use the terms interchangeably.

                                                                    SiliconE is the plastic.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Yep, which I don't think I knew until someone else mentioned it, PaulJ, maybe?

                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                      They are pretty difference. Kind of like the difference between H2O (water) and just H2 (hydrogen). Don't worry about the typo. I saw it last night. I knew what you were getting at -- slicone.

                                                                    3. re: sunshine842

                                                                      No, "silicon" is element no. 14; "silicone" is a class of compound made from silicon and oxygen. The New Shorter Oxford gives "silicon" for the compound as being obsolete, and shows no difference for UK and US usage.

                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                  Please don't make me have to worry about ingesting water, too. ;-)

                                                                  Thank you for your response here and in the other thread. I had always understood that silicone was a a good choice in the kitchen, so I'm glad to have that confirmed.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Water toxicity is a different thing altogether. It's not a matter of having too much of a poison which can be tolerated in small doses, but having too much of somethong which is not inherently poisonous at all. It's a meaningless comparison which nevertheless gets trotted out again and again.

                                                  2. re: mcf

                                                    It doesn't make me crazy to buy the Pomi tomatoes since I like to buy those anyway, but for prepared sauces, etc., in a glass jar is often the best alternative to canned if you live in the real world where you don't have time to do everything from scratch all the time. You just make the best choices you can.

                                                    The BPA in products in glass jars is considered to be trace levels.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                          1. re: cutipie721

                                            Why would they be lined? Is there a brand in particular that you are referring to?

                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                              they started lining the cans with plastic to cut down the metallic taste that tomatoes can sometimes take on.

                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                Sorry--I thought you/we were talking about SS water bottles.

                                                1. re: splatgirl

                                                  That's something I read quite some time ago I forgot about the details. Google it if you want more details. Since this has been outed, I'm sure there has been an outcry and issue got erected.

                                                  My point is, run your finger inside the bottle to make sure it doesn't have lining before you deem anything 99.9% safe.

                                          2. re: mikie

                                            Hey mikie,

                                            Chemicalkinetics suggested I reach out to you re: plastics used in a cheese press. Could you please chime in on this thread?

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901901

                                            Thanks!

                                            Mr Taster

                                        2. <Anyone here trying to move away from plastic? What are you using?>

                                          For heating things, yes. Otherwise, no, I am not moving away from plastic for storage. It has a lot of nice properties I like.

                                          Forgive me, but are you trying to minimize your own plastic usage at home, or are you trying to minimize what happened outside of your household? For example, are you trying to buy milk where it is stored in glass containers instead of plastic containers? Are you trying to food wrapped in paper instead of plastic wrapper?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            you're echoing my thoughts.

                                            Because I'm really, really not managing to get my head around buying milk in plastic jugs and other food in plastic wrappers, then taking them home and repackaging everything.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              You can buy milk in cardboard cartons or even glass (although, the glass milk containers I've seen still have plastic lids).

                                              If you're buying your produce, cheese, meat and baked goods directly from the producer or from a specialty shop, you can often influence how its wrapped (butcher paper for the meats, for instance) but it's pretty impossible to avoid plastic entirely.

                                              ~TDQ

                                          2. I've just started to notice how much plastic is in my life & am replacing food storage containers with glass. I read that cardboard milk cartons are now lined with plastic, not wax, so I'm starting to evaluate what I can buy in recyclable containers and what I can re-use - and how to avoid unnecessary plastics without trying to elminate plastic completely.

                                            Look for local ceramic artists who glaze with safe glazes, too.

                                            Stainless steel, less expensive if you can find it in resale shops.

                                            I just read about a reusable beeswax-based wrap to replace plastic film. Cotton/hemp impregnated with beeswax, jojoba oil, & "tree resin." You wash in cold water with dish soap.

                                            1. I hear you. I try not to be totally psycho about it, which in my life means trying to ignore what I can't control and trying to avoid it in circumstances when I can.

                                              I have yet to see anything that seals that would be ideally suited for a liquid gallon, but there are some things in the beer-brewing supply category that come close. Glass carboys in particular come to mind. You can probably also find gallon glass jugs with the loop handle and narrow mouth. I buy apple cider in these in season.
                                              Half gallon is easier. I just saw a some wire-bale stopper bottles in 1/2 gallon-ish size yesterday, and pitchers are pretty easy to find in this size.
                                              For a full gallon, what about a stainless steel or glass something with a spigot that could sit on your fridge shelf? I have a now very old gallon glass tea jar that the (plastic) spigot wore out on, and I was able to get a new SS one for it. Milking pails?

                                              My co-op sells one brand of milk that comes in glass 1/2 gallons.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                bale wire stoppers usually have a plastic (or rubber) gasket.

                                                http://www.ebottles.com/showbottles-b...

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Yea, I file under "isn't in constant contact with food" in the ignore category.
                                                  Natural rubber is actually quite a bit less offensive, assuming one isn't allergic to latex and doesn't need it to last an eon.

                                              2. I'll preface this by noting that I've pretty much got a "hippie" heart. Nevertheless, I can't help but ask why you're undertaking this task? Could you provide the rest of us with some sort of articles or studies that suggest all plastic is something to avoid? Or, is it a protest of petroleum? A never decomposing issue? Save the oceans? What?

                                                39 Replies
                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  I am curious to hear the answer to that from the OP as well.

                                                  I would answer yes to all, but I am not someone who waits for science to substantiate or validate what I can infer with reasonable critical thinking, logic, and simple observation. I'm also not naive enough to believe that "science" doesn't have an agenda or isn't influenced by an agenda in some way. Science is a tool for understanding, not THE tool.

                                                  BTW, did you hear? Science has officially declared eating too much sugar is bad! No, really?

                                                  1. re: splatgirl

                                                    I'm sincerely curious. I suppose the BPA thing is of some concern, but there are plastics without them. Plastic is recyclable, so it need not add to over all petroleum consumption. Moreover, without giving up driving, why should the by-products not be used? Given that the lighter weight of plastic cuts down on the cost of transportation, I'm confused. Can all plastic really be all bad?

                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                      http://news.discovery.com/human/healt...

                                                      If you want to read more about the concerns. There is a lot we don't know, but the potential damage is great.

                                                      I like the idea of recycling and plastics. I am not convinced we know what is safe and what is not yet. I am glad we are protecting infants now, but I believe there is more to the story.

                                                      Glass is cheap, easy, sometimes free. To me, it's a no brainier when it comes to food storage.

                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                        Do you really think BPA is the only thing in any plastic we'll ever "discover" to be problematic?
                                                        Check out the film "Blue Vinyl".

                                                        Recycling is not a resource neutral undertaking at any stage. I am not an expert, but as it understand it, it takes a great deal of energy input to recycle plastic and the vast majority of what is collected gets landfilled anyway. A lot like electric cars--we're just swapping out one flavor of problem for another.

                                                        I don't see this or any other environment/lifestyle/heath issue as an all or nothing equation by any means, but if there's changes one can make and still remain in the realm of realistic and somewhat sane, then I'm in.

                                                        1. re: splatgirl

                                                          I'm just askin' questions, Ma'am. It would, however, seem, inherently, that no container material could be resource neutral.

                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                            Since I love glass, I look for products in glass and always choose glass over plastic whenever possible (even if I have to pay a little more). Some of those glass containers I have reused for decades...seriously, decades. At least in my home there is a personal resource neutral thing going on! :)

                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                              Yes, me too. It's not my intent to sound hostile.

                                                              I just saw an article the other day about how packaging-free everything is the next big deal, along with product shapes that can be packed for shipment with zero wasted space (hello IKEA?). Can't wait to see what interestingness that brings.

                                                              1. re: splatgirl

                                                                Packaging free sounds great to me - I'm the kinda guy who leaves all his produce loose.

                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                  Me, too. My main reason for plastic container avoidance is health concerns, but I avoid taking plastic bags out of stores unless I'm going to use them to scoop and dispose of kitty litter.

                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                        I also avoid plastic when I can.

                                                        This is why (listed in priority order):

                                                        1. Avoiding items made from petroleum. Saving the petroleum for my car.

                                                        2. In most cases, plastic has a shorter lifespan than it's alternatives -- metal and glass. Would rather use something that will last a lifetime rather than something that ends up tossed in a landfill and sends me back to the store for a replacement. Some plastic is recylable but recycling is hardly a resource-free process. It's way better to keep the products and not have to recycle at all.

                                                        3. Plastic food storage containers can be hard to clean. They stain, they get slimy.

                                                        4. Eating out of plastic is not as pleasant as eating off of glass or ceramic dishes.

                                                        5. Health concerns when dealing with heated up plastic or BPA.

                                                        1. re: taos

                                                          Here's where a chemical engineer or chemist or petroleum engineer find these arguments amaturish.

                                                          "1. Avoiding items made from petroleum. Saving the petroleum for my car."

                                                          Crude oil is refined in a process where different chemicals come off at different levels in the process, fractional distalliation, as such there is some, but little movement in what comes out of a barrel of crude oil. I'd need a reference manual to tell you exactly what comes off when but gasoline is just one of many chemicals that comes out of a barrel of crude. Not using plastic is not saving petroleum for your car.

                                                          Item 2 is, well, just an unfounded statement and generalization. What do you do with your wine and beer bottles? None are refillable in the US, so you bring them back to the supermarket or recycling center, either way they get recycled. What's the melting point of glass and what's the melting point for plastic? The higher number takes the most energy to recycle. If you save all your beer and wine bottles, you are either a tea todler or a horder, as you couldn't possibly reuse all of the ones you would have collected.

                                                          I totally agree with issues 3 and 4.

                                                          Item 5, I'll agree on the BPA but that's only in 2 plastics and of most concern when it's heated.

                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                            http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm...
                                                            How much oil is used to make plastic? ... about 4.6% of total U.S. petroleum consumption

                                                            http://www.bpf.co.uk/Press/Oil_Consum...
                                                            Oil Consumption
                                                            “WHAT HAPPENS TO PLASTICS WHEN THE OIL RUNS OUT AND WHEN WILL IT RUN OUT?”

                                                            http://elyorganics.com/media/files/Gl...
                                                            claims that glass takes 3x as much energy to produce as plastic.

                                                            http://www.eiolca.net/

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              paulj,

                                                              Thank you for doing my homework for me, I've been out on a business trip all week, still out actually, but have a chance to check in.

                                                              These are the kinds of facts that the typical citizen doesn't take into account when they try to make an argument one way or another on an issue that has complexities that are very specialized in nature. It's not that people can't find out, but most don't know where to start the research.

                                                            2. re: mikie

                                                              I enjoyed this post.

                                                              Several years ago, after Whole Foods switched entirely from plastic to paper bags, I tried to research the matter a bit, and came to the conclusion that the paper was probably worse for the environment and my pocketbook. It costs a lot to produce, uses trees vs. plastic which is a byproduct of producing gas from crude, uses alot of chemicals to produce. Both break down at the same negligible rate in a landfill.

                                                              Please critique this analysis if you have the time. I think people are very tempted not to let the facts get in the way of their beliefs....so I'm curious if I'm guilty of that as much as the plastic-haters are. bottom line: the damn handles fall off those paper bags and my stuff breaks when it hits the driveway. THIS is my primary motivation to wish plastic bags were superior.

                                                              1. re: danna

                                                                and fabric bags last darned-near forever -- that is, if you can keep them from being shanghai'd and used for school projects, sleepovers, picnics, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                And they can be washed.

                                                                1. re: danna

                                                                  the damn handles fall off those paper bags and my stuff breaks when it hits the driveway.
                                                                  ~~~~~~~
                                                                  I always double them, which helps prevent the handles from tearing off. I typically use fabric shopping totes, but I occasionally get a doubled paper bag at TJ's or WF to hold my paper recyclables. It gets reused until it's ready to fall apart, and I recycle it.

                                                                  I totally respect your position. But just to clarify, the paper bags at Whole Foods are now 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled paper, so they're not as damaging to the environment. I wish other chains would follow their lead. And paper bags - from all stores, not just WF - are also compostable, whereas plastic bags aren't.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    I haven't had bad luck with the handles, but some bags are doubled by the store. I have reusable totes that hold a ton of groceries that I will bring unless I want their paper to recycle newspapers in.

                                                                    My wonderful totes, found cheap, $9.99 at Marshall's often:

                                                                    http://p.globalsources.com/IMAGES/PDT... They hold a lot and are very balanced and easy to carry.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Yep...double bagging works, but doesn't the irony just kill you? We are doing the same things....i put my paper recycle in the WF bags when I forget my cloth ones, but I am FINALLY starting to train myself to take them in the store with me. It really is a convenient solution, once you learn not to leave them in the kitchen!

                                                                      1. re: danna

                                                                        I never forget to take my cloth bags - I have at least 7 in the trunk of my car at all times, and on the rare occasion that I walk into the store without them, I run back to the car to get them.

                                                                        I guess the only good thing about the double bags is that they seem to hold more weight than 2 separate single ones do, so I end up using fewer for the papers. Or at least I tell myself that :)

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          I avoid driving as much as possible. Using a car to go to the store seems more wasteful than using paper bags, no? Why not live close to a store?

                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                            This is true. I use my grocery plastic bags as my garbage bags. I have not had to buy dedicated garbage bags since college years.

                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                              Because I don't like living close to a store or other houses. I need space and nature surrounding me. I long to live in a little town where I can ride my horse to the store. I could do it where I live, but our town has grown so much that there would be to many complaints of the 'trail' our horses leave behind. And folks throw a fit if you get off in the edge of the road and leave hoof prints in their yard. I also have, what most would consider weeds growing in my yard. I consider them herbs and food. Neighbors raise a fuss because they don't want them spreading to their yard. (When did clover become a weed anyway?)

                                                                              1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                I dug up the first six feet of lawn in front of my house in order to be able to grow vegetables and herbs every summer. My neighbors were quite scornful the first few years. Now they think it's "cool",* especially when I give them some late August, heirloom tomatoes.

                                                                                *That was nowhere as strange as the reaction I got when they stood in front of their houses watching the long haired guy carry in a 1950 Wurlitzer organ and four guitars, When the piano was delivered two weeks later, the process repeated (I could not carry that myself).

                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                  Some areas have banned front yard gardens

                                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                                MGZ

                                                                                "Why not live close to a store?"

                                                                                Because the orchards that surround us are in rural areas and rural areas are not "close to the store." Because our property produces the fruit and nuts you buy at your conveniently located store we must drive miles to buy anything. To be sure it's a lifestyle choice that I'd make again.

                                                                                Or were you just kidding?:-D

                                                                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                  We create our priorities and therefore our lives. Clearly, you have made your choices and I'm sure that your property is wonderful. It would seem that your top priority was not minimizing your petroleum consumption - not everyone's will be.

                                                                                  This semi-existential tangent of mine was merely suggesting that when we consider our beliefs, it is important to consider all aspects of them, and realize that our position at anytime can be changed through our own actions. At bottom, "think before you consume" all things and accept the consequences.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    okay --

                                                                                    From a purely logical standpoint, there is simply no way that the entire population of the planet can live within walking distance of a store. It simply cannot happen, nor will it.

                                                                                    And someone has to operate the farms and ranches and the factories to produce those things that you're going to buy when you walk to your store -- so Italian Nana uses no fuel when she walks to work. Can you walk to work?

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      The point is that is you establish your priorities. I choose to minimize my driving. I live in a small town at the Shore. I live here, because it permits me to avoid driving for days at a time. I live here, because it permits me to smell the Atlantic in the air and walk up to it when I need to. I live here because, I could create a business here. (And, yes, I have lived where I could walk to work for almost twenty years - including those years when I was workin' at "white shoe" law firms.)

                                                                                      I never suggested anything so literal as "everyone should live within walkin' distance to the store." I tried to convey the notion that we have the ability to choose how we live our lives based upon what our priorities are. If one doesn't want to drive a lot (for whatever reason), one has the ability to live a life where one does not have to. We are "condemned to be free" after all.

                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                        many European cities have many small stores withing walking distance instead of having just a few big stores that you have to drive to like in the US

                                                                        2. re: danna

                                                                          Your analysis is correct, paper is more energy dependent and the chemicals are very harsh. Even recycled paper bags are much more energy dependent than recycled plastic bags. For the plastic bags to be recycled they have to be shreeded and then remleted along with virgin plastic and they are then mixed into the stream of molten plastic that is then blown into film and ends up as bags. The paper has to be partially digested in harsh chemicals to be reintroduced to the paper making process. If you have ever driven through a town with a paper mill in it you would remember, that's how bad he chemicals are.

                                                                          1. re: mikie

                                                                            Thanks. Actually, I mountain bike in Pisgah national forest, and when the wind is "right" you can smell the town of Canton, NC almost 20 miles away where there's a paper mill. One attempts to pedal without inhaling.

                                                                            1. re: danna

                                                                              I used to have to drive through one in western PA, can't remember the name of the small town now, but I would turn off the ventalation system in the car and hold my breath as I drove through.

                                                                              I'd like to add a little more on recycling plastic bags. in 2011, the last year for which there are accurate industry numbers, ". . . . more than 1 billion pounds of post-consumer plastic bags and films were collected for recycling in the United States . . ." This is according to a report from the American Chemistry Council. This is a 55% increase from 2005, so people are doing a better job of recycling. Of this amount, about 55% of the post-consumer film that was recycled, went into plastic and composite decking. A win/win as we recycle plastic and save trees. Unfortunately, this is only about 13% of all the plastic bags. But it is progress and demonstrates that plastic can be up-cycled. I do what Chem does, and use them for garbage bags, I also reuse my paper bags as garbage bags.

                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                And everyone who drives south of Seattle is warned of the "Tacoma Aroma". I'm not even sure they still have a paper mill.

                                                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                  Hi, pdx:

                                                                                  In the Puyallup Nisqually language, 'Tacoma' translates to "What's that smell?"

                                                                                  Just Kidding.

                                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                    I thought it translated to "it's not me, really"......

                                                                                    :)

                                                                          2. re: danna

                                                                            Yes. Just go someplace where trees and forests aren't take for granted.
                                                                            One thing that always reminds me of the preciousness of paper this is how bad the paper products suck in Spain. Their tp sucks and smells bad. Their napkins REALLY suck, like some plasticky paper analog. They have no absorbent quality whatsoever.

                                                                            1. re: splatgirl

                                                                              Trees for paper pulp are grown like any other crop. They are looking into using mullberries because they can just pull the whole tree out roots and all, and they grow like weeds.

                                                                    2. I also minimize plastics for health, being more green, esthetics, etc. I don't drink much cow milk, but I keep some on hand for some things. I buy it in glass from a local dairy. I put all my milks in mason jars and freeze them. I always have a supply of cows milk, coconut and almond milk this way. I just rotate them from freezer to fridge as needed. I never have to throw away bad milk this way.

                                                                      I use glass jars in my fridge for soups, broth, salads, dressings, vegetables, almost everything. I just get the wide mouth kind. I take my lunch to work in them.

                                                                      I use mason jars to transfer beans and lentils from plastic into glass, as well as all spices, powders, dried whole chilies, nuts, beef jerky, etc. I think things stay fresher longer and are better sealed. My pantry is lined with labeled glass jars. Looks really great and makes things easy to see.

                                                                      1. Ditto for me with aluminum and plastic. But not been able to achieve 100% non use.

                                                                        At the moment, I am just trying to figure out how to store cut up onions. Plastic absorbs the odor so badly. So I put the oniona in a glass dish with a silicone type lid, and the silicone abosorbs it. Even though it is not in contact with the onion. Then, I put a couple layers of saran wrap between the onions and the lid, and the silicone lid still absorbed the onion. So, I need a glass container with a sealed glass or stainless steel lid. I thought about a mason jar, but not convenient like a bowl or dish to store onions.

                                                                        I am also wondering if glass lined thermoses are still made.

                                                                        It is very hard to completely avoid plastic containers for food. I use glass jars alot, but everything just does not fit in them. And glass containers for storage and freezing gets very expensive. I freeze a lot of food. I always cook extra to put in the freezer.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: dixiegal

                                                                          Since you are using Saran Wrap, you can just wrap a leftover piece of onion in SW and freeze it. Use the frozen onion pieces for cooking. When you need fresh onion, start a new one.

                                                                          1. re: dixiegal

                                                                            I simply don't store chopped raw onions. I cook them first in olive oil, and they're ready the next time I want to make one of five different favorite foods.

                                                                            1. re: dixiegal

                                                                              There are all sorts of dish-shaped containers with glass lids if you can live with a rubber gasket. The gasket is not exposed to the food much or at all. Low, wide wire bale top jars, Weck jars, the smaller working glasses paired with available plastic lids.
                                                                              Or in the SS category, tiffins.
                                                                              Maybe just a hard plastic vs. silicone lid would help the odor problem? I have Glasslock stuff and have never had a problem with odors in the lids--they have a silicone gasket in a hard plastic snap-on lid.

                                                                              1. It sounds from your post, that you have a fear of plastics being in contact with your food. I'm not sure how you can avoid this to any great extent. You stated you use pyrex containers, but what do you use for lids on those containers? If it's the one that came with it, it's plastic.

                                                                                Do you live in a new or old house? If it's old you run the risk of lead or galvanized plumbing, if it's new then it probably has plastic water lines made from PEX a crosslinked polyethylene material. It also prabably has plastic fittings and soon if not already, you will have plstic valves in your faucets, all of this to avoid the lead in brass.

                                                                                Food packaging is all FDA approved and at this point, it has gone through very extensive testing for food safety. Today's technology is able to detect materials at a far lower concentration than they were able to detect even 20 years ago.

                                                                                Plastics offer economical, recyclable, food container solutions with a high degree of consumer safety. There are so many reasons for plastic food containers that benefit both manufacturers, retailers, and consummers. My dad used to own a grocery store, if a shopper knocked a bottle of cathup off the shelf, there went the profits for that entire case. And that ws the best case scenario, worst case was when the glass shattered and the shopper was cut by a piece of flying glass. As a manufacturer, there's nothing worse than having product shipped in heavy glass containers, only to find that half of the bottles broke in shipment. As far as recycleing is concerned, recycling plastic containers takes a small fraction of the energy it takes to recycle a glass bottle, jsut think about the difference in melting temperatures and there's your energy cost.

                                                                                I guess my point is you are trying to run away from something that you can't get away from and isn't going to hurt you in the first place.

                                                                                65 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mikie

                                                                                  I don't think people understand that plastic overall has improved our quality of lives. A lot.

                                                                                  It is the same thing I hear all the time about how people worry about drugs and vaccines. Do people understand that modern medicine and vaccines have significantly increased our life expectancy? Do they really want to live in a time before modern medicine and vaccines where people used to die all the time from what we consider as minor infections?

                                                                                  A lot of positive things have been demonized, and it is unfortunately.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    Yeah, let's ignore research like this:

                                                                                    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-5...

                                                                                    There are hundreds, yes hundreds, of studies showing real serious problems with plastics and our food supply. Not everyone agrees (as typical) but to ignore it is really foolish.

                                                                                    Here is another one out from the UW ( great school...okay I went there and have a bias ).

                                                                                    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

                                                                                    All progress must be good...because corporate headquarters tells us so?

                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                      I went to graduate school at the UW, but it doesn't matter. This report says that the BPA and phthalate contaminants are not coming from the plastic containers we use at home, but are in the food supply. The conclusion I draw is, for any contaminant, find out where it actually comes from, and fix it. Avoiding plastics in the home wherever possible fixes nothing.

                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                        Avoiding plastics in the home is smart, IMO. YMMV. Everyone has their own life to live. These contaminants are in the food supply (as well as the fact that we get exposed to them elsewhere). You can't live in a bubble.

                                                                                        I believe in doing what I can reasonably do to live a healthy life. Not using plastics is a no brainier. It's easy. Not complicated. Reduces exposure in some way. I don't think the OP should be given a rash of shit for asking. It's not kooky. Not worthy of being mocked. Reasonable people can disagree. Most of the posters that are " poo pooing" this as an issue have not been helpful. I was trying to be helpful to the intent of the post. I don't wish to get into a google match, just show that it is reasonable to have concerns about this issue.

                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                          Yes, the concerns are reasonable. But an irrational response is not. There is good reason to avoid using plastics containing BPA in places where they could contaminate food. It does not follow that plastics should be avoided everywhere.

                                                                                          Some ceramics contain lead, which is a dangerous poison. Should we avoid using all ceramics? Some glass also contains lead. Avoid all glass? Stainless steel contains chromium, a toxic metal, and measureable quantities can leach into food. Avoid all stainless steel? Aluminum is probably the purest and safest material we use for food containers, but some people won't use that.

                                                                                          The most inert material you can use for containers is PTFE, a plastic. Laboratory equipment is made from this for use when maximum purity is required. If you really don't want anything leaching into your food from containers, you should buy this. It isn't cheap, though.

                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                            I don't think I have ever run across anyone that ever said that all plastics should be avoided everywhere. Actually...never.

                                                                                            This thread is about minimizing risk of prolonged exposure in food. It is not about plastics in other areas of life. I use many plastic items and love them. I am concerned about it being an endocrine disruptor, neurotoxin, messin' with my estrogen.....but heck, I just hope my vintage Ray- Bans look good on that third boob growing out of my forehead :)

                                                                                            I think it is reasonable to not want all this in my food if I can help it. I have never read about glass as a problem storage container. It's dirt cheap.

                                                                                            1. re: sedimental

                                                                                              With the technology available today you can find ppm of all kinds of things in plastics, glass, ceramic, you name it. It's no wonder there are hundreds of studies available and one can find a study that backs up their particular beliefes.

                                                                                              The FDA tightly controls the plastics used in food packaging and to some extent plastics used in food preperation, just as stringently as they do drugs. Perhaps that is meanningless to some.

                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                Yes, actually that is meaningless to many.

                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                  Considering how poorly they vet and regulate drugs, yeah.

                                                                                                2. re: mikie

                                                                                                  <With the technology available today you can find ppm of all kinds of things in plastics, glass, ceramic>

                                                                                                  You know. A slightly unrelated topic, but people have raised this point about diseases and other things too. Let's take cancers for example. A lot of people said the rate of cancer has increased, and there are all kind of speculations why including vaccines, Teflon and sleeping hours. Not to say they are right or wrong, but there are two very simple and non-conspiracy explanations. First, people are living much longer. By simply living longer, the population increases its rate of cancer. Second, the technology of diagnosis has improved a lot. It is much easier to find stage 1 cancer than before. This alone will increase the finding of cancer and therefore increase the discovery rate.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I agree. There could be other answers to the cancer questions. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't avoid a vaccine, throw out your Teflon and get more sleep if you think those things are negatively effecting your health and might put you at more risk for a cancer.
                                                                                                    I think everyone should be at least reading and thinking about these things, then decide where to prioritize them in their life. Really important stuff-lots of items on the list- everything will not be a top priority, but I bet my top priority is different than yours, which is different than the next persons, etc.

                                                                                                    I guess I just don't see it as right or wrong.

                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                      <I think everyone should be at least reading and thinking about these things, then decide where to prioritize them in their life.>

                                                                                                      Agree. I think the thing is that I don't view plastic as dangerous as some other things. Sure, I agree with you that plastic for heating is generally not so good, but if you tell me that storing milk in plastic vs storing milk in a copper container. I will drink out of the plastic container every single time. As far as I know, no one die from drinking milk due to the plastic containers, whereas:

                                                                                                      http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lan...

                                                                                                      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/63/...

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                        No to copper and milk!

                                                                                                        I think plastics are important and on my list of things that concern me...somewhere between climate change and avoiding toe nail fungus. Maybe number 46 on the list :)

                                                                                                        Storing liquids are tricky. I gave up my lead crystal decanters for leeching reasons. Short term is supposed to be fine, but it was just too easy to buy unleaded glass and not have to think about it. That was number 47 I got to check off that list! :D

                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                          <somewhere between climate change and avoiding toe nail fungus. Maybe number 46 on the list :)>

                                                                                                          Ha ha ha. A lot of things are in between those, I suppose.

                                                                                                          < I gave up my lead crystal decanters for leeching reasons.>

                                                                                                          Yeah, I read about that too. Lead crystal drinking glass is fine, but like you said, the storing decanters are probably not a great idea.

                                                                                                          < 47 I got to check off that list!>

                                                                                                          Wow, you put plastic (number 46) above lead crystal (number 47)? I think that is where we are different. I kind of avoid plastic, but it is much lower than lead crystal for me. :)

                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      If you won't say it, Chem, I will. They're wrong.

                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                        Which part? The lead crystal vs plastic part?

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          "Which part?"

                                                                                                          The part about people blaming vaccines and/or Teflon for their cancers or other ills.

                                                                                                          Lead crystal should not be used for storing beverages. Likewise plastics containing BPA.

                                                                                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          I agree chem. I think a lot of degenerative type disease can be attributed to an old and wore out body. I attribute my dads cancer to genetics and age. 86 is pretty old. At that age things just begin wearing out. Of course, many, many people get cancer at young ages. Cancer is such a mystery. Even animals get it. I have had more than 1 pet with cancer. In times of old, people died before things like dementia manifested itself so clearly. Such as my mom. Her dementia is vascular. She had by pass surgery years ago. 100 years ago the clogged arteries would have killed her. But the surgery and meds have allowed her to live long enough for the diabetes and poor circulation to now slowly kill her brain cells. I am not complaining. There was a lot of good quality of like between use surgery and dementia. But at the end of the day, she only has herself to blame. Years of heavy smoking and overheating and poor diet, is what caused her problems in the first place. Hope it was worth it to her...............

                                                                                                          1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                                            <Years of heavy smoking and overheating and poor diet>

                                                                                                            Overheating? I mean I understand car overheating, and I kind of understanding athlete overheat in a competition -- like heatstroke. But it seem unusual that people will intentionally go through overheating/heat stoke for years.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                              I'm guessing it was a typo and meant to read "overeating."

                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                Yep. A typo. I was doing it from my IPhone. Not sure if it was my typo or that darned ole auto correct. Over eating was what I meant.:o)

                                                                                                      2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                        The OP is seeking to eliminate all plastic in contact with food. That's what we're discussing — food.

                                                                                                        Don't forget to remove the little plastic washer in your faucet, by the way. That is, if you're cooking with tap water. But if you're going to buy bottled water, doesn't it all come in plastic bottles nowadays?

                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                          Yes, I was trying to keep it about plastics on food...not on the little plastic washer in the faucet, or bottles of water, etc. you seem to be the one to continue to take a strange all or nothing approach. Read your comments, I was responding to them.

                                                                                                          "There is good reason to avoid using plastics containing BPA in places where they could contaminate food. It does not follow that plastics should be avoided everywhere."

                                                                                                          No one ever said they should be avoided everywhere. That was the comment I was responding to.

                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                            No, it doesn't all come in plastic.

                                                                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                    <Yeah, let's ignore research like this>

                                                                                                    You can also easily point to this one medicine drug killed someone, but that does not mean you throw the baby with the bath water. My point is that people do not understand the overall benefits about plastic. Do people really understand what the world will be "plastic-free"? You can complain all about the side effects of modern medicine, but do you really want to live in a world without modern medicine -- when people do not have side effects from medicine, but simply just die.

                                                                                                    <All progress must be good...because corporate headquarters tells us so?>

                                                                                                    No, but may be because the average human life is getting longer? Over reaction is not helping the overall cause.

                                                                                                    A lot of people believe that we are creating poison all around us, but if we are living in a more dangerous world, then how come we are living longer? So we must be doing something right. The correct approach is to fix what is wrong. The correct approach is not to overreact, and decide to ban all modern medicine, or modern plastic or modern aluminum.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      Chem, I am not going to get into this here, but there are Hundreds of research studies on this. It is not reasonable to ignore them.

                                                                                                      1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                        You are correct that there are hundreds of research about the adverse effects of plastic, and it is not reasonable to ignore them, but equally, (what I was getting at) is that it is also unreasonable to ignore the good of plastic and what it has improved our lives.

                                                                                                        Plastic is not a purely evil thing. It has a lot of good properties.

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          Yes, I agree with you there. I don't know what I would do without my rockin' designer shades in the summer...all plastic...all fabulous....... :)

                                                                                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    I agree, they have. On the other hand, there has been a huge downside from the use of vast quantities of plastics for consumer packaging, most of which, at least until recently, has ended up as trash. Much of the trash ends up on the streets, in the rivers, and ultimately in the ocean.

                                                                                                    I don't think that's reason to try to avoid plastics altogether, which I think is overreaction, but it's certainly a reason to favor strictor regulation, in my opinion.

                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                      < at least until recently, has ended up as trash. Much of the trash ends up on the streets, in the rivers, and ultimately in the ocean. >

                                                                                                      That is a real problem for sure.

                                                                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      Whenever there's a post about avoiding plastic, I'm surprised by the amount of judgement it receives in response and the implication that avoiding plastic is irrational. I'm guessing it's because of the "extremists" who overstate the dangers of plastic. However, there was nothing extreme about the OP. S/he simply stated that s/he is trying to avoid plastic and asked if anyone else is doing the same.

                                                                                                      mlkle and chem, I don't mean to say there's anything wrong about how you wrote your posts--you were both very reasonable and respectful. However, as I often see in response to people who avoid plastic, you seem to take an "all or nothing" stance. Personally, I try to avoid plastic when I can. I know that it's not always possible or convenient to do so. That doesn't mean I can't avoid plastic--again, when I can.

                                                                                                      Yes, I do have *some* fear of plastic. Studies have shown plastic to contain endocrine disrupting and possibly carcinogenic materials. Yes, it's debatable how scientifically sound some of those studies are, and yes, the amount of these chemicals that reaches our bodies is small. No, I don't think plastic is going to kill me. However, with plastic so present everyday in our lives, I do have concern about it's long-term effect on my health. With the ubiquity of plastic in our lives, often outside of our control, what's wrong with consumers trying to avoid plastic whenever it IS within our control?

                                                                                                      Just because I try to avoid plastic in my life does not mean that I don't see the value of plastic. It does not mean I want to revert to a time before plastic and modern medicine were invented. I know that plastic has provided many benefits to society. It just means I'm trying to reduce my exposure to plastic in my life. And my personal decision does not affect the convenience of plastic in your life.

                                                                                                      Also, safety is not the only reason I try to avoid plastic. There are environmental and political concerns as well.

                                                                                                      1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                        Obviously, I would agree with you. I see a lot of all or nothing thinking,as well as a fatalistic approach (don't bother to try to improve anything) in threads like these. I don't subscribe to either of those schools of thought. Different strokes.

                                                                                                        1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                          < you seem to take an "all or nothing" stance.>

                                                                                                          A fair criticism, but my understanding is that in fact some people are taking the "all or nothing" stance on the other side, and in my mind, I was addressing this. Look, let be honest here, alright? This original thread is about avoiding plastic in all situations related to foods, including milk container or any plastic warp in supermarket, right? So I am directly address this point, no?

                                                                                                          I think your view of minimizing where you can is great.

                                                                                                          In disclosure, I actually do avoid plastic here and there. For example, I used to use plastic tupperware for my lunches, but now I use these plastic containers. It is just that I am not refusing to buy milk in a plastic bottles. I avoid there plastic is use for high temperature applications. I mean I think the last time I got a medical shot, it was from a plastic syringe. I am not going to protest against the plastic syringe. Hey, it is about plastic "inject" to my bloodstream. Should that be more concerning?

                                                                                                          <However, with plastic so present everyday in our lives, I do have concern about it's long-term effect on my health.>

                                                                                                          Fair point, but I feel as a society, many of us are overeacting. One day it is the plastic leaching, and the next day is the dangerous of Teflon, and then the harmful effect of too much iron or chromium from stainless steel. Let say, you and I decide to store a bottom of milk in a plastic bottle for a week and a metal bottle for a week. Are we really sure that the metal one is better? So by avoiding plastic, are we jumping out of the pan into the fire?

                                                                                                          <often outside of our control, what's wrong with consumers trying to avoid plastic whenever it IS within our control?>

                                                                                                          Yes, avoiding, but what are we replacing it with? How do we know the substitution is really better. I am not at all convinced that food stored in a pure metal can is really safer than food stored in a plastic case.

                                                                                                          < And my personal decision does not affect the convenience of plastic in your life.>

                                                                                                          I am aware of this.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                            I like your method of quoting.. Makes responses much easier to read :)

                                                                                                            < A fair criticism, but my understanding is that in fact some people are taking the "all or nothing" stance on the other side, and in my mind, I was addressing this. Look, let be honest here, alright? This original thread is about avoiding plastic in all situations related to foods, including milk container or any plastic warp in supermarket, right? So I am directly address this point, no? >

                                                                                                            I see what you mean, but to your last question, I think yes and no. Yes, the OP is trying to avoid all plastic, but he doesn't say that plastic is bad (not directly at least), nor does he say that everyone else should do the same.

                                                                                                            And I think that if one person wants to avoid all plastic in his/her life, there's no problem with that. One can't eliminate ALL exposure to plastic, but there's no harm in trying as much as possible to do so, if someone so wishes. It is just that person's preference. The OP did not mention eliminating plastic from the world as policy, only that he is trying to do so in his own life. Why does this upset people? (I'm not saying that you are upset personally, but in general, it seems to really anger people when one individual tries to avoid plastic.)

                                                                                                            < I feel as a society, many of us are on to some conspiracy. One day it is the plastic leaching, and the next day is the dangerous of Teflon, and then the harmful effect of too much iron or chromium from stainless steel. >

                                                                                                            Definitely. Perhaps these conspiracy theorists (which I earlier referred to as "extremists") are the reason why it's such a touchy subject, bringing out passionate responses on both sides.

                                                                                                            1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                              < The OP did not mention eliminating plastic from the world as policy, only that he is trying to do so in his own life. Why does this upset people?>

                                                                                                              True, I didn't get the impression that Mojave was trying to push the belief onto the rest of us. As for being upset, I think that there are many explanations for many people. Some may have past conversations with another person who similarly tried to avoid plastic. In other words, Mojave may be taking some burdens from the previous people who said this. For example, a collegue told you that what an awesome idea it is to have a Starbuck coffee machine, and let's say you disagreed with him and debated with him again and again. He left the company. A new guy came and he told you that Starbuck coffee machine is just awesome. Now, instead of treating him as a separate person, your old memory of the previous person comes back and everything starts from the last debate instead.

                                                                                                              http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/e...

                                                                                                          2. re: erichalias

                                                                                                            +!. I could not have stated that better.

                                                                                                            1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                              Everything is perspective. I know I have a much different perspective than many people here, I know I have a much different background than probably just about everyone here, with the possible exception of chem. I have a science and engineering background and have worked in the chemical and plastics industry in product development for almost 40 years. I know the chemistry and I know when to be concerned and when not to. I believe I stated clearly taht I agree, BPA is not a good chemical and that it's only in a couple of plastics and what those plastics are. I don't believe that's an all or nothing approach. The simple fact is that yes there are some materials that shouldn't be used in certian ways, not just plastics, but any number of materials. Perhaps my familiarity with plastics and chemicals, we deal with many nasty chemicals, puts the fear of plastics way, way down the list of things for me to worry about. I work with a bunch of really bright PhDs, they're concerned about their health, but none are concerned about the dangers of plastic milk bottles and plastic storage containers. To me, based on my background, this overall fear of plastics contact with food is at least a bit irrational. Everyone can worry as they see fit. I'm just trying to restore a level of reasoning.

                                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                I think there's a lot of good reasoning here from those of us capable of reading applicable science, including that across numerous clinical health disciplines. We've just come to different conclusions than you have, not due to sloppy thinking.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  mikie, I read about a study that showed that all plastics (not just BPA) leached endocrine disrupting chemicals. However, it was criticized as having inherent bias because the scientist who conducted the experiment also invented a new plastic that supposedly doesn't leach any chemicals. I don't know if there were any criticisms of the methodology. Do you know about this study or any similar ones? (I can't find a link at the moment.) Of course, people can argue that the amount of chemicals leached is insignificant.

                                                                                                                  I certainly appreciate your background and knowledge, and that of the people you've worked with. On the other hand, I've read about former professionals in the plastics industry who have decided to take a public stand against plastic based on what they know and have learned. (I wish I could provide specific sources and links, but these are things I've seen over the years and haven't saved.) Like mcf said, different people come to different conclusions.

                                                                                                                  There have been plenty of studies that make different claims, from which we draw conclusions for our own personal lives. While I believe that plastic is generally safe, I'd rather err on the cautious side for myself. With so much plastic in our lives--it's in our food supply, clothes, bedding, furniture, homes, offices, glasses, contact lenses, cars, gadgets, shampoo, toothpaste, everywhere--who knows what potential long-term effects this constant exposure can have on our bodies. And based on the studies that show potential harm, I decided that I'll personally do what I can to avoid plastic--when it's convenient.

                                                                                                                  Even if plastic were proven to be 100% safe, with no ill effects on our bodies, I would still avoid it for environmental and political reasons. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is horrible enough the way it is now. Many plastics can't or won't get recycled. When it is recycled, it can only be down-cycled and will still eventually end up in a landfill, if it isn't already on our streets or in the ocean. This pollution will not will continue growing for our entire lives, and many lifetimes more.

                                                                                                                  1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                                    To say I shouldn't used plastic storage containers because of all the plastic floating the Pacific makes a much as sense as saying I shouldn't use glass bottles because of all the broken glass on the streets. Or that I shouldn't use reusable grocery bags because they make shoplifting easier
                                                                                                                    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/articl...

                                                                                                                    The only plastics that I regularly buy are garbage bags, and small fold top bags (which I use on dog walks).

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      Interesting. I had not heard about the shoplifting effect before.

                                                                                                                      I never said YOU shouldn't use plastic. I guess my post implied that everyone should reduce their polluting habits, which, admittedly, I think is true. But I simply said that *I* personally try not to contribute to this pollution, and I've pointed out in several posts here that this is *my* personal decision, and it does not affect anyone else's personal choices.

                                                                                                                      A bit of a tangent, but there's no perfect solution to the pollution problem. In my opinion, plastic is of particular concern because it doesn't biodegrade, and even recycling is an issue. That's not to say that other materials don't pose problems (like paper emitting methane, or like you said, broken glass on the streets). But again, my personal choice is to do what I can--avoid plastic when it's convenient, reduce consumption, etc.

                                                                                                                      1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                                        Technically I didn't say that you said I shouldn't ...

                                                                                                                        I'm not sure it would have read any better if I'd written: "To say you don't use plastic storage containers because of all the plastic floating the Pacific makes a much as sense as saying you don't use glass ..."

                                                                                                                        The issue isn't who's doing it, but whether the logic makes sense, either for you, or for me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                                          I don't think plastic is the problem with over pollution any more than I think guns are to blame for killing people. We, the people cause it. The only way to stop over polluting is to stop throwing so much away. In old times, people did not store much food. Without refridgeration and freezers, they were just left with canning and drying their food. Everything else was consumed daily. Not much of anything was pre packaged, and those things came in containers that could be reused. Like flour sacks, (used for clothing and quilts) returnable bottles, etc. Even the animals that were consumed were all used up. We have a saying around here about the hogs. 'Nothing left but the squeal'.
                                                                                                                          But we now live in a throw away society. Partly because of convenience and economics and partly due to cleanliness and sanitation. Like in the medical field and disposable medical supplies.

                                                                                                                      2. re: erichalias

                                                                                                                        "...it can only be down-cycled and will still eventually end up in a landfill. . ."

                                                                                                                        Actually, that's not entirely correct. I'm personally working on a project that takes recycled carpet and combines it with another polymer and makes an entirely new plastic product that can be used to make high temperatuer automobile parts. Now the car may eventually end up in the salvage yard, but at least for the short term, the post consummer plastic is up-cycled.

                                                                                                                        I can totally understand peoples concern for plastic packaging from an environmental standpoint. Although just about all plastic could be recycled, very little acutally is. I've seen so many plastic grocery bags blowing around, I refuse to use them. I ask for paper, which isn't exactly environmentally friendly, but it doesn't blow around, and I reuse the paper bags to put my garbage in. But environmental issues are not the same as health issues.

                                                                                                                        There's a lot of things that go into plastics and there are some that can migrate out, but even of those, not everything is harmfull. And not all plastics have things that migrate out during normal use. For example if you get a knee replacement, it's going to be plastic and it very safe.

                                                                                                                        Regarding the study that all plastics leach endocrine disrupting chemicals, as soon as I read all and plastics, I know the study is inaccurate. The differences in raw materials for various plastics is so diverse, I find all to be impossible.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                          http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...
                                                                                                                          Contaminated Diet Contributes to Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Phthalates and BPA

                                                                                                                          It reports on a study that found that, " we may be exposed to these chemicals in our diet, even if our diet is organic and we prepare, cook, and store foods in non-plastic containers. "

                                                                                                                          In this test, they found that preparing food without plastic contact did not reduce urine concentrations.

                                                                                                                          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23...

                                                                                                                          Worrying about food contact with plastics in the home is closing the barn door after horses have escaped. Milk, for example, starts flowing through plastic hoses or pipes the instant it leaves the cow. I can only think of one flexible watertight material that isn't plastic - animal guts.

                                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            Thanks for the links, paulj. What I found most interesting was this bit: "The researchers expected the levels of the metabolities to decrease in those adults and children eating the catered diet. Instead, the opposite happened. The urinary concentration for phthalates were 100-fold higher than the those levels found in the majority of the general population." I wonder what caused the levels to increase so significantly for the catered diet.

                                                                                                                            An NY Times article I recently read showed different results under different circumstances. It wasn't a controlled scientific experiment, but the author was able to reduce BPA levels in her urine by 84%. (She also lost three pounds, so her limited diet probably contributed to the drop.)
                                                                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/opi...

                                                                                                                            Looking back at my posts, I think maybe I was a bit unclear in my environmental reasoning. I'm not simply swapping reusable plastic containers for glass ones because of garbage that already exists in the ocean. I'm trying to reduce my overall consumption that leads to waste, whether immediate or eventual (after all, reusable containers often get thrown out eventually). Plastic in particular concerns me because it doesn't biodegrade and there are issues with recycling, so I'd rather avoid it.

                                                                                                                            mikie, sounds like you're doing great work. Best of luck with that project. Regarding the study I mentioned, I guess my wording overstated it. I think a few different types of plastic were used, and all of those particular samples leached. Perhaps that's why those samples were chosen, since he had his own new plastic that he wanted to sell?

                                                                                                                            1. re: erichalias

                                                                                                                              "Plastic in particular concerns me because it doesn't biodegrade and there are issues with recycling. . . "

                                                                                                                              It doesn't biodegrade at the bottom of a land fill, but nothing else does either. Most of it will degrade with the help of UV light.

                                                                                                                              Quoting an article from the NY Times conducted by a journelist, is hardly worth the paper it's printed on. It's not a technical journal, it's not reviewed by experts in the field, it's not only not good science, it's not science at all. And there in lies one of the problems with the general public on just about any issue, they read it in the NY Times and assume that it's in there because it's true and not just to sell papers. I and the collegues I work with have been reading industry publications, technical journals, scientific study results for decades. Most of us have been published in a variety of technical journals and industry publications. My point is simply, you can't believe everyting you read, and you have to be picky about what you read. And I'm not speaking directly to just one person, there have been a number of pieces of misinformation posted, with the best of intentions.

                                                                                                                              Somewhere in this line of posts there was mention of getting milk in cardboard containers. Do you know what the inside of the majority of cardboard containers . . . plastic. It's part of a coating process that makes the containers water resistant. It's been that way for quite some time. Fact is that's one of the worst from an evnironmental stand point as it can't be recycled. The plastic cartons can, but unfortunately, it's typically more expensive than making new polymer. The company I work for had a recycling business for a few years, but couldn't make a business out of it.

                                                                                                                              I'm just as entertained by the PBA free claims, most plastics have always been PBA free, they didn't change anything. Just a pet peeve of mine.

                                                                                                                              1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                I acknowledged that the NY Times article wasn't a scientific study, but I don't discount its value. It's true that people get more information from newspapers than from reading technical journals, but that's one of the reasons journalism exists--to provide information to the masses that we wouldn't get otherwise. We don't all have scientific backgrounds with an interest in reading scientific papers, but newspapers help inform us. Yes, they have something to sell, but scientific studies are not completely devoid of limitations, flaws, biases, and misinterpretation either.

                                                                                                                                You're right about having to be picky about what we read. And when different scientific studies show different results, what should everyday consumers do with that conflicting information? That's why I err on the side of caution, when it's convenient, as I keep emphasizing.

                                                                                                                                Here's the "scientific" study mentioned in the NYT article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic...
                                                                                                                                "Three days of eating food with limited food packaging was associated with substantial reductions in BPA and DEHP exposures. Results of this study suggest that removing BPA and DEHP from food packaging will significantly decrease exposure for adults and children. More generally, these results illustrate how intervention studies of chemicals in consumer products can inform regulatory decision making, product formulation, and consumer choices."

                                                                                                                                Again, I don't have a scientific background, so I can't evaluate how well the study was conducted.

                                                                                                                                I've read the same thing about the plastic-lined cardboard. It's unfortunate that they're sometimes perceived as more environmentally friendly.

                                                                                                                                Gee, I'm sorry I've trailed so off topic. I can't help but respond :) If anything, I continue to get more informed, and I hope others do too, as MGZ posted below.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                  I remember reading somewhere that paper in the landfill actually last forever too -- because they are very tightly packed and they are not enough water.

                                                                                                                                  < Fact is that's one of the worst from an evnironmental stand point as it can't be recycled. The plastic cartons can>

                                                                                                                                  This is actually true. It is much easier to recycle plastic cartons than the paper cartons <-- is that even plausible? (worthwhile)

                                                                                                                                  Now, I do want to throw something out for people to think about. There are plastic made for disposable containers like syringes or milk bottles. These are not going to be easily biodegraded, but neither a lot of other stuffs in a landfill. Some people say to replace plastic with glass. A glass milk bottle is not going to decompose in a landfill. Unless you crush the glass into dust, a glass bottle decomposes much slower than a plastic bottle.

                                                                                                                                  There are plastic made for long term and permanent usage like these Oxo containers:

                                                                                                                                  http://www.oxo.com/p-877-10-piece-pop...

                                                                                                                                  Plastic containers like these do not have a greater environmental impact than glass or ceramic containers. Once they are made, they will last for a long time. In fact, they will likely last longer (on average) than the glass/ceramic counterparts because plastic containers are less likely to break.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                    But, people presumably aren't discarding their glass milk bottles to be deposited into landfill. They are returning it to the dairy to be re-used. Isn't reusing something better than recycling it?

                                                                                                                                    What a bummer about the plastic lining in cardboard milk cartons. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of that, but, yes, it makes sense.

                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                      <But, people presumably aren't discarding their glass milk bottles to be deposited into landfill>

                                                                                                                                      A valid point. Some people do return glass bottles to be reused, but some don't. I have certainly seen glass bottles here and there. The old incentive to return the glass bottles is that they do cost quiet a bit and customers are paid to return them.

                                                                                                                                      Although you can recycle plastic bottles, I don't know anyone really pay the customers to return those milk plastic bottle. Plastic bottles can be recycled too. It is just that they are so cheap to make from scratch. At the end, the fault of plastic is not because it is difficult to recycle. Rather it is very cheap to make.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                        I'm probably under privileged, but I don't know that I've seen a glass milk bottle, well, in an extremely long time. My father and grandfather both had grocery stores, but I just don't remember seeing glass milk bttles with milk in them, although I do kind of recall a friend's family having milk delivery. Probably has something to do with where I've lived at different points in time.

                                                                                                                                        All the glass I see and have seen for a very long time is not refillable. Beer, wine, are the two things I buy in glass bottles and they are not reusable. They are recycled in some parts of the country but not refilled. It's more energy intense to recycle glass than plastic.

                                                                                                                                        Plastic water bottles are recycled into PET carpet fiber. Milk bottles made from PE are recycled into plastic decking material along with wood waste. There are a lot of way these products can be recycled. But it's sometimes less expensive to just make new rather than recycle.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                          We're lucky in the Twin Cities to have Cedar Summit Farms: http://www.cedarsummit.com/product/da...

                                                                                                                                          They reuse their glass bottles "about 20 times":
                                                                                                                                          http://www.cedarsummit.com/our-story/...

                                                                                                                                          But the best thing is, their products are simply delicious.

                                                                                                                                          Others: http://autumnwoodfarmllc.com/products...
                                                                                                                                          http://www.dahlssunrisedairy.com/whol...
                                                                                                                                          http://www.lwdairy.com/index.cfm

                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                            Yes. Exactly what I was thinking of when I mentioned milk in glass bottles at the co-ops.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                            Glass water bottles have made a comeback in my area, both in natural groceries from regional dairy producers and in new old fashioned home milk deliveries.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: mikie

                                                                                                                                              Glass milk bottles/jags are rare. I used to see them all the time when I was a kid, but they are of rarity now. I have seen glass milk bottles in Amish stores in Reading Market (at Philly). They look exactly like this:

                                                                                                                                              http://s.ecrater.com/stores/81195/4f0...

                                                                                                                                              I get like a 50 cents back or something for returning it. However, I am seeing less and less of them even among the Amish stores. I couldn't find the glass ones when I visit the stores last time. Only plastic.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                They can be had, but you sometimes have to seek them, if they don't pop up in stores:

                                                                                                                                                http://strausfamilycreamery.com/value...

                                                                                                                                                http://www.gpi.org/learn-about-glass/...

                                                                                                                                                http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Dair...

                                                                                                                                                Just a few of many such links. I think the most common in my area is Ronnybrook Farm and a local home delivery dairy.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                    <Worrying about food contact with plastics in the home is closing the barn door after horses have escaped.>

                                                                                                                                    I suppose there is always the benefit of the placebo effect (making you feel good to close the barn door even after the horses have escaped).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                      There is no such placebo effect, a large meta study found years ago. Not the kind you allude to. In fact, folks who've reduced the use of plastics in the food sources do have lower levels fairly soon when comparing pre and post change serum testing.

                                                                                                                                      You can keep up a steady, uninterrupted stream of unintended chemical consumption if you want, but to suggest that if you can't prevent every molecule, it's stupid to reduce, is a straw man argument.

                                                                                                                            2. re: mikie

                                                                                                                              The point is not whether there are more dangerous chemicals in our daily lives. Of course there are.

                                                                                                                              The point is that daily household use of plastic is something that can be reduced thus reducing use of disposable, poorly made products (my biggest reason for not using plastic).

                                                                                                                              The other chemicals, many more dangerous, are harder, if not impossible for me to avoid. It's not like I can stop breathing the polluted air. But I can stop using plastic products that contribute to that air pollution when they are manufacturered, transported and even recycled.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                            >It is the same thing I hear all the time about how people worry about drugs and vaccines. Do people understand that modern medicine and vaccines have significantly increased our life expectancy?<

                                                                                                                            I could go on a long time about this one. Drugs and vaccines are a double edge sword. They are good and bad.
                                                                                                                            Yes. They can extend out life, but they can also lessen the quality. Such as, I am dealing with a 79 year old mother that is 79 due to modern medicine and modern unhealthy lifestyle. However, her quality of life is poor due to the modern medicine that has kept her alive far past her time and modern medicine side effects is much of the cause of her declining quality of life. I just recently buried my 87 year old dad, that took a different route. He took no medicines for most of his life, due to the fact that he chose to take better care of himself.
                                                                                                                            then when he eventually developed cancer, in the latter part of his 86th year,(probably due to the extreme stress of caring for my mother) he chose, at the encouragement of the doctors to have the surgery to remove the colon tumor. His quality of life took a nose dive after that. He chose to not fight it anymore, after he was told they could not completely cure it at his age. So he chose to let nature take it's course. No more drugs and no more surgery.
                                                                                                                            My mom, on the other hand, continues let the docs keep her alive in a mind that causes her to live in a nightmare most of the time.(extreme anxiety, panic attacks, seeing things that are not there, confusion, memory loss) But, we keep giving her the modern meds to try to aleviate her mental and physical discomforts as we watch the side effects from these same meds create more problems. It seems we can keep us alive in this world for many years, but we cannot cure the degenerative diseases that plague us.

                                                                                                                            We don't live in a perfect world and we cannot have perfect health. But we can fight to avoid the things that we believe are harmful to us. Such as, I used to think it was silly for people that got bent out of shape about alcahol consumption. I grew up in a family that drank alcahol from time to time as did I when I got old enough. It was not a problem for us. I did not realize the risk to those with the genetic make up for alcaholism. I thought people that drank too much were weak and lazy and just did not want to stop drinking. Same with smokers. I am blessed that I am not one for addictions. But I do believe my body is suseptable for cancer. My dad and 2 siblings died with cancer. That would be 3 out of 5. His other two siblings each had a daughter that died of cancer. One was 47 the other 58. My dad, his brother and one of their nieces all died within months of each other. My mom's side. It is heart diesease, type 2 diabetes, and clogged arteries.
                                                                                                                            Every bit of my mom's heatlh problems were brought on by her poor lifestyle choices. All of her health problems could have been avoided. And yes, she knew that.
                                                                                                                            So yea. I am on a mission to avoid these things, if possible.

                                                                                                                            I will someday die. My mission is to do it when it is naturaly my time. Not from diseases that I can avoid.
                                                                                                                            Now that my dad is gone, the burden of my mother is on me. The stress and worry is more than I could have imagined.

                                                                                                                            So yes. Modern medicine and technology is keeping us in this life for a very long time. But at what cost?

                                                                                                                            Plastics, chemicals in our foods and environment, aluminum, and the list goes on. While these things may be safe for some and maybe for a time, for others it can be a problem. Such as alcahol, smoking, poor diet,etc. Some people these things can cause a whole host of health problems, and for others, it doesn't. My grandbaby has extreme allergies to most foods. He is at high risk for vaccines. So his mother refuses them for him. But his sister? We could probably inject her with arsenic and she would survive it.:o) So vaccines are great for some and not so great for others.
                                                                                                                            Our life on earth is a big risk at best. We just have to choose what we are willing to risk.

                                                                                                                            FDA approves stuff all the time, only later to take it off the market, when it is discovered that maybe it is not so safe after all. It is just hard. Because some things are safe for some people and not for others. And some things are safe for someone for a while and then becomes a health problem later.

                                                                                                                            We all pick and choose our battles. For some people, having to give up or change the lifestyle that they have come to love, would not make life worth living to them. I had an aunt that died from consequences of poor lifestyle choices. But if she could come back and do it over, I doubt she would have changed a thing. She loved her life as it was and enjoyed it all until the very end. Even though it took her from us too early.
                                                                                                                            LIfe is full of battles and consequences. We can't avoid that no matter what we do. But we can pick and choose our battles and how hard we want to fight them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: dixiegal

                                                                                                                              <Drugs and vaccines are a double edge sword. They are good and bad.>

                                                                                                                              I think your examples are very real, and there are well known issues of side effects (not just medical side effects, societal and economical side effects) from modern medicine. Overall, I still believe that the positives far outweight the negatives. Polio and small pox have pretty much gone from our modern society. People used to greatly suffer from these. A few years back I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. A week or two later, I developed an infection. It wasn't too bad, but it won't go away, so I was prescribed antibacterial drug and the infection was gone. Prior to the invention of antibacterial drug, I actually could have just died. Sometime it is easier to see the negatives of things, because the negatives are more pronounced. Whereas the positives take a bit more efforts to notice, like the LACK of polio, the LACK of small pox, the LACK of death from minor infections....etc. Because a lot of positive things in the form of elimination, they are more difficult to take notice.

                                                                                                                              <So vaccines are great for some and not so great for others.>

                                                                                                                              In modern societies, the vaccines are more beneficial to the person next to you, than to yourself. (kind of like bike headlight). In other words, your grandbaby will greatly benefited from the vaccines despite that he is not injected with them because others will, so others people around him don't have small pox or polio...etc.

                                                                                                                              <Because some things are safe for some people and not for others. And some things are safe for someone for a while and then becomes a health problem later.>

                                                                                                                              That is an excellent point. Another thing is that the cost and benefit. Let's say 10, 000 people take drug A, 5000 have benefits, and 4995 have no real effects, and 5 people have serious side effects. Should a drug like this be approved? Currently, people try to weight the benefits against the cost. If it is a weight loss drug, then it will unlikely to get approved with this results. If it is a HIV cure drug, then it may get approved.

                                                                                                                              <But we can pick and choose our battles and how hard we want to fight them.>

                                                                                                                              True and insightful. Thank you.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                I agree, little Isaac will benefit from those that are vaccinated. I just hope as time goes by, that children and adults will be looked at as individuals and not as a herd that should all be treated the same. Medically, that is. If my daughter had not put her foot down and stopped his vaccines, he would have been injected with the one that is cultured in eggs. That one would probably have killed him.

                                                                                                                                I agree. Medicines are, as a whole, a good thing, and are being improved upon. I just think we, as a society depend on them to much to fix all our health problems. When most of our health problems (I think I read 80%) can be fixed or prevented by our lifestyle. But I am greatful for drugs and modern medicine. Especially when my dad was in hospice. Those meds to alleviate his pain and misery were a blessing. It actually relieved our stress as well. Those caretakers were angels for sure.

                                                                                                                                So I am not against any of it. I am glad to the availability for all. Plastic and aluminum too. LOL I just choose to avoid it when I can. As well as a lot of things that others partake in on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                                LOL. Growing up in the era that she did. My mom thought medications, vaccines, plastics, aluminum foil, non stick pans, Sweet N Low, preservatives, any instant kind of food, and anything disposable, was a gift from God. Of course indoor plumbing and electricity would be a given.

                                                                                                                          3. re: mikie

                                                                                                                            If you want to read about the dangers of BPA, which is FDA approved for most food storage purposes, the NYT has an entire "topic" devoted to it:

                                                                                                                            http://topics.nytimes.com/top/referen...

                                                                                                                            But, the truth is, we've not sure that what manufacturers are using in place of BPA isn't as bad or worse:

                                                                                                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/bus...

                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          4. Glass storage containers for hot or warm solids & semisolids. Yes, some of the lids are plastic but I don't fill them to the brim so they're not in contact with the food. I also occasionally seal cans/jars with Glad Press N Seal which is *supposedly* BPA- and pthalate-free, but I don't let it touch the food anyway.

                                                                                                                            Glad or Ziploc BPA-free plastic containers for some room temperature or refrigerated foods.

                                                                                                                            Glass jars or BPA-free freezer bags for frozen foods.

                                                                                                                            Glass jars for liquids.

                                                                                                                            I only buy paper cartons of half & half for my morning coffee, never plastic.

                                                                                                                            Speaking of morning coffee, my Aeropress is BPA-free, so no worries there about plastic parts in a coffee maker. And my tea kettle is a stove top stainless steel model - again, no plastic parts (well, except for the handle grip but that never touches the water).

                                                                                                                            Glass or a ceramic plate for reheating in the microwave, and if the top needs covering it gets a sheet of wax paper.

                                                                                                                            No nut or seed butters in plastic jars, only glass.

                                                                                                                            I only buy canned foods that are packaged in BPA-free cans, which is fortunately much easier than it used to be. (If I can't find a safe canned option, I buy tetra-paks or glass.)

                                                                                                                            I do buy cottage cheese in plastic tubs, as well as Greek yogurt when I don't make my own. They're made of #5 plastic, which is BPA-free.

                                                                                                                            Sparkling water in glass bottles.

                                                                                                                            Nalgene water bottle for the gym. BPA-free Smart Water at the airport.

                                                                                                                            Do I sound paranoid or extreme? Perhaps to some. But I've been battling endocrine problems for many years, so I'll do whatever I can to minimize my exposure to chemicals that have the potential to exacerbate the issue. I know I can't avoid plastic in some situations, but when I can, I do.

                                                                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              You sound like my domestic twin. Those things are what we do. I reduce the exposure to chemical/plastics storage, I'm not frantic about removing it from every part of our lives or our kitchen, except for some uses.

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                Thanks good health for telling us how you cut down on plastic use. I need to find a message board about food storage for the health concerned folks. Supply and demand. The more we buy things in other containers than plastic, the more options we will have.

                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  I think you sound pretty sensible. I follow many of your practices.

                                                                                                                                  I seldom buy sparkling water or pop anymore--we carbonate our own using a sodastream machine. Re: the plastic lids on your storage containers, sometimes you can slip a piece of wax or parchment paper in there as a barrier between the food and the lid, too.

                                                                                                                                  I don't worry about my coffee pot as my primary concern about plastics is reducing my toddler's exposure he's energetic enough without the benefit of caffeine! ;-) Of course, presumably I'm benefitting from all of other changes we're making our household.

                                                                                                                                  And we're not just evaluating the safety of our food, but everything we buy and bring into our home. It doesn't really address the safety of plastics much (and I really wish they'd update it), but I like the The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices: Practical Advice from The Union of Concerned Scientists.

                                                                                                                                  I also like this article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/gar... which makes the point about

                                                                                                                                  "the wild proliferation of chemicals in the marketplace, said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and health policy at New York University. “One thousand to three thousand new chemicals were introduced into our environment every year over the past 30 years,” Dr. Trasande said.

                                                                                                                                  At our house we're just trying to consume mindfully, without going to extremes, despite having imperfect information and living very busy lives.

                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                    I wish I had the space for a Sodastream - I really want one of the models that uses glass bottles, but I don't have anywhere to keep it. Someday...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      I looked into it and aside from space, the cost and inconvenience of using the little glass decanters they have was doing to be onerous, given how much of it we drink.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        It's not that inconvenient or costly if you're a heavy user (as we are). We keep ours in our basement (because that's where we have space for it), and sometimes THAT is inconvenient, especially on mornings where you're just scrambling to get out of the house.

                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                          I think we'd be making new bottles constantly, frequently needing cartridges. Edit: the glass carafes hold only 21 oz.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, we do two of those per person per day (on weekday mornings) to take to work with us. I usually do another one in the evening. We take turns doing it, while the other one of us packs lunches, and it's not so bad if you just do it as part of your routine. I've tried doing them a few days ahead, but it doesn't really make much sense.

                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                              Doing the math for the continuing carbonator costs doesn't make it a slam dunk, either. Folks write in reviews they don't get 60 liters from one carbonator, and those carafes are only 21 oz. We get Pellegrino at 25. something oz for $1.25 per bottle, that's actually 5 cents less due to bottle deposit, I guess.
                                                                                                                                              And we don't have to make a separate trip to find a place to exchange anything when we run out.

                                                                                                                                              The other thing is, I know I'd be the only one making the water, and Pellegrino tastes better to me than filtered water from my tap, despite having award winning tap water, for taste. Still, we're spending a lot on water per mo...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                I don't think I've ever tried to tally how many liters we get from one carbonator--we seem to have to replace them every other month, which works well enough for us. We have a spare carbonator (which means you have to factor that in as an additional investment/cost) and then just order a replacement carbonator when one runs so we don't have to hassle with driving around to find one and so we never "run out". We find it way more convenient than having recycling of bottles to deal with and having to lug home flats of water, especially when it's icy in winter.

                                                                                                                                                I've never tried to price it out, but I think we about break-even. I definitely don't think it's cheaper, though, just less hassle over all. And, of course, if you don't prefer the taste of it, then that's a strike against it, too.

                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                  So you really think there's no savings in that, or is that because like us, you were buying the inexpensive plastic seltzer bottles before switching?

                                                                                                                                                  I think there is a net savings to be had here, but I'd want it to be substantial. So far, Mr. MCF doesn't mind buying it at Costco or the beverage center and making returns when he goes in for an occasional case of beer. So that's easy on me, anyhoo. Til he's old and worn out, anyhoo.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    My son lives in a third floor walk up and loves his Sodastream. Beats lugging cases of seltzer up the stairs.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leslie

                                                                                                                                                      If I lived in a walkup, there's no way I'd be without one! But I don't. :-)

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                      We were mostly buying flats of individuals cans and bottles of pop, beer and sparkling water (this was about 5-6 years ago), usually on sale or at Sam's Club. Not seltzer, but typically a local brand "Mendota Springs" with lemon or lime flavor. The lugging home of flats and eventual recycling of cans and bottles was turning out to be a logistical nuisance and it felt very wasteful in terms of the earth's resources. I wasn't aware of BPA back then, so that wasn't my concern at the time.

                                                                                                                                                      So, we bought a keg-orator type fridge for the beer (energy star rated) and the sodastream for everything else. The taste has been an adjustment, but now I drink almost exclusively carbonated water, whereas before I drank a lot of pop, too.

                                                                                                                                                      Price was never our primary consideration. It is an investment for the machine, a spare carbonator, and bottles, and then shipping costs every time you want a new one. There's a trade off between convenience (spare carbonator+shipping) and price. We opt for convenience. You could probably do it more cheaply --ie., avoid the spare carbonator and avoid the shipping costs for repeat orders--if you were willing to put up with some inconvenience, but I can't believe even with those adjustments the savings would be "substantial".

                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                        I wouldn't have to deal with shipping, since there are multiple stores very nearby that exchange the cartridges. We only started doing this recently, after discovering that the cans we'd switched to also were lined with BPA plastics. Thanks for all the info to consider. I'm guessing I'd save after the initial layout for machine, 4 bottles and two cartridges. Or, we could go cheaper and make it into a BPA free plastic and immediately pour into one of our glass bottles with screw cap. Some more to think about.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                          One thing you need to know about their BPA-plastic bottles is that the water carbonates more efficiently if it's cold. So, unless you're planning on chilling the water in glass, then carbonating in BPA-free plastic, then pouring it back into the glass containers, you're probably going to burn through the carbonators more quickly...

                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                  2. Yes, we've stopped using plastics for storage, for water bottles and we're buying sparkling mineral water in glass by the case instead of seltzer in plastic. I stopped heating stuff in plastic long ago, over a decade. Anything I can buy in a glass bottle or container, I do, as well as in BPA free cans. The only exception is Gosling's diet ginger beer, which we buy and drink much less often; all beverage cans are BPA lined, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                    I don't wrap foods in plastic, and if I buy something that's been packed into it, I transfer it to glass at home.

                                                                                                                                    I'm reducing our usage and consumption of things we can avoid without getting nutty about my coffee maker. :-)

                                                                                                                                    1. "I'm looking for glass containers that can handle a gallon of milk, orange juice and also water."

                                                                                                                                      I was just at Macy's today and saw they had some of these. I think they were Martha Stewart brand. Glass Ribbed Bottle, looks like a plastic lid that comes off. Also saw some for less than $10.00 today at either TJ Max or Marshall's. They're skinny enough to sit on your refrigerator door. Now that I've seen your post, I think I will add these to my " To Get " list as well. Great idea!

                                                                                                                                      I also started buying Glass Lock brand glass storage containers (BPA free plastic locking lid) as well as plastic BPA free storage locking containers. Found both at TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Ross.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: kimcantcook

                                                                                                                                        I bought Duralex with plastic lids, they seal tightly and I love Duralex tempered glass for durability.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kimcantcook

                                                                                                                                          How much would a full one gallon glass container weigh? I'm sure I can lift it, but unwieldy, especially for children. How about using 2 half gallon containers? I also like the smaller containers because when half empty (or half full?!), you only need one in the fridge-takes up less room.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Leslie

                                                                                                                                            @Leslie: You can get the kind that has a spigot so that you don't have to lift to pour. Although it would be heavy to lift into the refrigerator after filling... I do like the idea of having a couple of smaller containers.

                                                                                                                                            @mcf - I'm curious what the reasoning is behind transferring foods packed in plastic into glass containers when you get them home. (Curious, not being controntational.)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: eepi

                                                                                                                                              No worries, I don't think I made it clear at all that I was referring to foods like salads from stainless steel trays I'd just bought at a local store and placed in plastic containers.Those I transfer.
                                                                                                                                              Other stuff, I avoid buying in plastics as much as I possibly can.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                Oh, I see what you mean now!

                                                                                                                                                Along those lines, I've started transferring fresh herbs from their plastic bag into a glass jar filled with water, like a vase, and popping the plastic bag over the top (though I'm not sure the plastic is needed but I guess it keeps the cilantro flavor out of the butter, for example).

                                                                                                                                                I was imagining people transferring things like cheese or yogurt into glass containers directly upon arriving home from the store and kind of wondering what the point in that would be since that kind of thing sits in plastic on the store shelves.

                                                                                                                                                I still like Zip-lock bags as an outer layer for a lot of things, especially in the freezer, but I have started to wash and re-use them.

                                                                                                                                        2. i make my coffee in a french press. no plastic.

                                                                                                                                          1. I just wanted to note that although this thread has gone slighty off the OP (the best ones always do), I have found it very interesting and informative. I posted some sincere questions early on and the ensuing dialectic discussion has been quite welcome. I mean think about it, we get to hear the thoughts and beliefs of scientists, tree huggers, hippies, health freaks, skeptics, and various combinations there of. Once again, I "tip my hat".

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                              And some folks are all the above. ;-)

                                                                                                                                            2. Someone else alluded to the weight of glass containers, especially in the larger sizes. How about the space that they take up?

                                                                                                                                              About half of the containers in my fridge are glass. Apart from a wine bottle, they mostly contain condiments, either the original contents, or something similar (e.g. chipotles in adobo in a better-than-beef jar). I'm much more likely to save a straight sided jar that is easy to clean and refill. But jars don't stack, so I have to limit the number that I do save.

                                                                                                                                              I used to use Classico jars for stock, but I don't have space to store many of those. Plus I rarely buy prepared pasta sauces anymore.

                                                                                                                                              My fridge space is limited, as it storage for empty containers. That, perhaps more than anything else, compels me to use plastic, especially the ziploc like ones that stack and nest their lids. They stack in the fridge, and they nest when empty. They are both cheap and durable.

                                                                                                                                              If I had more space, such as a basement pantry with shelves full of home canned peaches, a chest freezer, and a double door fridge, I might use more glass. With some extra money might even buy stainless steel storage pans from the restaurant supply store, and store kimchi in large crocks in the backyard.

                                                                                                                                              1. I'm a klutz. A major-league one.

                                                                                                                                                My kitchen floor is tile.

                                                                                                                                                A combination like that requires plastic.

                                                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  I always say "I can trip over lint." But I use glass. So far, Duralex stands up really well to my klutziness.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                    Duralex lost in the showdown with my floor.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Bummer. So far, I haven't slammed one to the floor, but I do get the dropsies.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                        this was a swipe with an elbow off of a countertop. My floors date back to the turn of the last century-- so far I haven't had any glass/ceramic/etc survive a battle with the stuff - -not Pyrex, not Corelle, not Duralex, not terra cotta -- if it hits the floor, it's a goner. It's a hard, hard floor.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                          Must be hard on your legs, I hate my tiled kitchen floor compared to wood or cork. Can't wait to redo it I'm sure your old tiles are beautiful though.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                            Wow, that is a hard floor--it's stone? I've dropped a lot of Corelle over the years and, yes, occasionally it does break, but to have it always break must be frustrating. I think I'm too clumsy to live with that kind of floor.

                                                                                                                                                            Is it cold and hard to heat in winter?

                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                              The entire house is cold and hard to heat in winter :) But it's a beautiful old stone house with 3-foot thick walls that has survived at least two, and maybe three wars, and generations of families since the Paris doctor who built it as his summer house. Nobody's even sure when it was built -- it wasn't here in the 1860 census, there was no 1870 census because of the Franco-Prussian war (nothing like an enemy occupation to screw up record-keeping), but it's on the 1880 census. Nazi officers lived just down the street during WWII.

                                                                                                                                                              I don't know exactly what kind of tile it is -- nobody else does, either, but I found one that was loose and pried it up out of curiousity -- it's almost an inch thick, and the color goes all the way through -- it's not painted or glazed.

                                                                                                                                                              It has a very smooth, porcelain-like texture, not like floor tiles I've seen anywhere else.

                                                                                                                                                              And yeah, if I''m canning or working in the kitchen all day, I wear sneakers because I swear you can feel the bones in your feet being crushed.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                Sounds lovely, actually. How interesting that it's so hard to identify. Good thing I don't live there, though, as I can't bear that kind of mystery!

                                                                                                                                                                Have you ever tried those really thick anti-fatigue mats? If you're going to be standing in one place for a long time: at the sink or at the stove or at the counter, they can really be helpful.

                                                                                                                                                                (Apologies to the OP--anti-fatigue mats are a little off-course. Just don't store your food on them!)

                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                  yes, but they are so stonking expensive here, lacing up my sneakers is a much more affordable choice.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                      Several years back I rented a condo that had tile countertops, a ceramic sink AND a tile floor in the kitchen. I lost *a lot* of glassware during that time.

                                                                                                                                                    3. We've always had our 5-gallon delivery jugs in glass - never understood spending that money for home water cooler/delivery and getting that plastic flavor bottle. Started this in L.A. - I think Hinckley Schmitt had a glass option - in New York and here in Michigan it's Mountain Valley that comes in glass. We use a ceramic dispenser - Those bottles are a fat pain to lift and put on the stand, but I did it even when 9 months pregnant...

                                                                                                                                                      1. plastic pisses me off to no end also. how can something that takes 10,000 years to decompose break in 10 minutes?? lousy scientists and their godless computers. . . .

                                                                                                                                                        anyway for the people who want drip coffee (i.e. don't want a moka pot, french press or percolator), may i suggest searching out a coffee biggin. an old graniteware one couldn't be that much and should outlive you.

                                                                                                                                                        actually, i looked it up. because they are old, people think they are worth money and are posting them for 98 bucks on ebay?? all look to be unsold though, looks like the market is collapsing.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I know this is an older thread, but it doesn't seem like anyone has mentioned:
                                                                                                                                                          http://myplasticfreelife.com/
                                                                                                                                                          once known as
                                                                                                                                                          Fake plastic Fish