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Cat, Galloping

Thanks, Jo. Interesting food for thought, no pun intended. I'm glad to see that I already do, oh, a third of these things and so many others would be so easy.

Re: lunchboxes... There's so much more attention these days to keeping food cooled appropriately than in our day. Many schools even require a cool pack in the lunch box. Any issue with metal lunch boxes? I used to carry a Spongebob one to work until it broke and had to be replaced with Madeline. They sell lots and lots at http://www.lunchboxes.com/metal.html
But pay attention to the dimensions because many are teeny tiny and it sucks to determine your lunch based on what fits!

arb

Jo, thanks for this. I have a suggestion, and a couple of questions for you or your readers. First, Looza brand juice bottle make great decanters for filtered water. Very pretty shape. We always keep one in the fridge.

The thing about the Brita is: maybe I am mis-remembering the instructions, but I thought you weren't supposed to let the filter dry out between filterings? We keep our pitcher filled pretty much all the time. Not necessary?

My other question is regarding Bisphenol-A leaching. Most of the things I've read (in cursory fashion, I admit) seem to say that leaching is only a problem with a) older plastic and 2) when the plastic is heated above a certain temp for a certain length of time. We don't boil our Avent bottles, and we don't microwave plastic. I don't see anything wrong with taking your more conservative approach, but I guess what I am asking is: where you gettin' your numbers?

Tell you what I'm reluctant to give up: Ziploc freezer bags.

For baby dishes, what do you think about enameled tin cups and dishes? Like the kind they sell in Asian groceries, or the kind the cowgirls drink their coffee out of when they are camping?

Ruth

Thanks, Jo. I'm already thinking about these things, but replacing only slowly . . . it's always nice to see some lists of things we could easily change. (Like waxed paper sandwich bags! I already ordered some.) I'm looking forward to the next installments.

There are lots of wonderful ideas for cleaners and other household products that you can make yourself in Berthold-Bond's BETTER BASICS FOR THE HOME. I realize that's a bit off the plastics tip, but the usual store-bought cleaners have so many awful things in them...

Meira

I never use plastic wrap for food, but I have recently started using it while dyeing yarn . . . do you think the leachings get washed off during the rinse.

And is my jacket leaching on to me RIGHT NOW?

This is one of those topics that makes me want to hide my head in the sand . . .

Jo

Re: The brita -- dude, you're totally right, arb. So that wouldn't work at all, would it. Hmmm.

And yes, it does seem that you can minimize leaching of bpa from polycarbonate by doing those things you said (not heating it, replacing, etc.). I'll put that in the list...As to what my sources are, well, they're everywhere. I wanted to provide references, but it came down to either getting the post up or providing heavy footnoting, so... yeah.

I gotta look up the enameled tin! Interesting...

Cat, it seems like metal would be okay...anyone?

And Meira, I totally wouldn't worry about it with the yarn. Unless you plan to eat it.

arb

Regarding the Brita, as you mentioned already, an on-tap filter is a good alternative too.

As for the references, I am not trying to make work for you—hope you know that. I think this first installment is terrific. I guess I am just trying to come to my own conclusion about how much to worry. The Paul Goettlich stuff, while it has a biblio, isn't exactly peer-reviewed publishing. His "about" page is mostly 9/11 conspiracy theorizing. (But the page with all the photos of his personal kitchen equipment is charming and weirdly entertaining.) And you seem like a gal who likes her some evidence-based practices!

Another idea for microwaving: oven-safe glass (like Pyrex)?

Jo

oh lord, I didn't even look at the guy -- just saw his pictures of plastic alternatives and thought it handy. Yeesh.

I do like my evidence, yes. (And yeah, I know you're not trying to give me a hard time!) I found that link from you -- the pdf -- to be pretty reference-laden. Also I need to mine the appendix to Having Faith, which I just got and am now loving...anyway, things is crazy and it's hard to do research the way I'd like, these days.

Yeah. Even the good sources can be conflicting, too, which is why I'm aiming for plastic-fee alternatives -- saves me having to do research!

Oh yeah, and Pyrex does microwave nicely. Unless you are me and always forget that the biggest Pyrex bowl does not fit in the microwave, even if you try to tilt it in there and dump your butter into the filth at the bottom of the microwave.

arb

I swear, I am not trying to hog your comments section. Just wanted to say, yes, I think you are right. In light of conflicting reports, why not just be conservative (within budget and reason)? My husband said basically the same thing when I was fretting a bit about whether or not we should replace our (hand-me-down) Avent bottles. He said, "Why not? Then you won't have to worry about it." Well, duh, good point, mi esposo! My old student-y side just wants to KNOW THE TRUTH sometimes, and it's hard to let go.

I am glad you are enjoying the Steingraber!

Susan

I guess I never thought about it but Im pretty much addicted to using plastic products in everyday life everywhere! Geesh. Thanks.

Joh

I've been forwarding your recent post on the endocrine disruptors that can leach from plastics hither and yon, and I'm thrilled to see this installment regarding replacing plastics; thanks!

Re: replacements for sippy cups and plastic water bottles -- why SIGGs for kids and Klean Kanteen for adults? Are there lingering concerns regarding the inner resin coating on SIGG bottles? I didn't find any, but I'll admit my online search wasn't super thorough. Just curious.

yem

um, any sugeestions for food processor?

been looking high and low for well over a year,
for non plastic larger food processor (a blender is just not enough

mare_imbrium

You may already know this, but I've heard you mention avent bottles before. I just wanted to mention that their Via disposible bottles have a 5 on the bottom - which I read somewhere is a number that's safer for foods. And they have an adapter so they can be used with the avent silicone nipples.

Julia

Hi,
This is all very interesting to me - I am just beginning to be aware of how much plastic I use and how to phase it out of my daily life (at least, as much as possible). So here's a "beginner's" question: what to use instead of plastic wrap? I grew up using it and I realize that I don't even know how to preserve certain foods (such as, say, soft cheese, or sliced tomatos) that would dry out without it.
Suggestions?
Thanks, and I love this site, Jo. It keeps me thinking!
Julia

Brooklyn Mama

I went out and bought glass storage containers today, thanks to you!

Sweetgum

Thanks for opening this practical discussion! My lingering use of plastic in the kitchen is of #5 "generally considered safe" Gladware boxes in the freezer for cooked beans (to replace canned beans) and various leftovers. Do you freeze in glass? with what type of lid? Anyone?

Jo

Joh -- the only reason I differentiated between kids and adults is that SIGG makes little bitty kid-sized bottles, and Klean Kanteen doesn't. SIGG does make adult-sized bottles.

Couldn't find anything on the liner.

Hmmmm soft cheese: well, things like feta should be stored in brine, and goat cheese can be kept in a jar with a lid. Tomatoes -- anyone?

Sarah

Jo,
I stopped using plastic wrap in the microwave a few years ago, but hated the splatter, and didn't want to waste paper by using paper towles, so I bought a package of white kitchen wash cloths and put them on top of the microwave for covering food when re-heating. The nice thing about them is that they do keep in some of teh moisture, and because the edges aren't wet, it is a pot holder of sorts.
Sarah

Diana

Thank you for this!!! I'm bookmarking everything and am going to do an overhaul of our house this summer. I am particularly at a loss for good baby toys that are not plastic or treated wood. Any suggestions there?

By the way, I am a mom with PCOS who could not breastfeed because of little/no supply. I found out later that PCOS was probably the cause of my lack of milk and no amount of Domperidone and crazy herbs helped. I have since found out that Metformin can help in these situations if taken during pregnancy. I would be interested to hear your take on this.

Thanks again for this great info.
Diana

SheilaC

What about beverages, like milk and juice? Milk jugs are plastic, and bags are plastic, but what about cartons? Are they simply waxed paper, or is there plastic in that coating? I wonder which is the least harmful.

Where we live you can't get juice in cans, it's all in plastic bottles or those plastic-lined tetra packs. Aargh.
Beverage containers are one of our biggest categories of recycling, and it all looks plasticky. Ugh.

This is all very thought-provoking, and a little overwhelming. Our house is full of plastic, even the keyboard I'm typing on... I will read more to see how worried I will decide to be. Thanks!

Meira

I just remembered this: Silicone breast-shaped baby bottle--
< http://www.babysupermall.com/main/products/adi/adi42443.html >

I was always intrigued by them, but never had a need . . .

Meira

A better link: < http://www.adiri.com/main/questions.php >

"What materials are used in the Breastbottle® nurser?
The Breastbottle® nurser’s dome with its seamless nipple is made from soft, Class VI, surgical-grade silicone, with the surface slightly textured to simulate the softness of skin. This high quality material is what holds the contents of the bottle. The polycarbonate cover and lid are made from the same plastic used in most baby bottles on the market. All these materials meet or exceed the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and the European Union’s requirements. Adiri cares deeply about the quality of our materials and does not use PVC or latex in any parts."

So there's some polycarbinate . . . gah

jozet

I was JUST asking my mother what she wrapped sandwiches in back in the day. She said "wax paper", but I've been on the lookout for some sort of reusable covering. I suppose I could just wrap them in a cloth napkin, yes?

I'm slowing turning over my plastic warehouse. Slowly. Slowly.

We just switched from plastic kiddie cups to glass jelly jars. And amazingly, those things can get pitched pretty far before they break or chip. Eh-hem.

Great post. Thanks for the info!

Jo

Oh, the milk jugs. Arrrgh. I hate that I buy our raw milk from pastured cows in those frickin' jugs. Cans are often plastic-lined anyway. (Hey, at least lead solder is dying out...) And all our great organic cheese comes in cling wrap!

Jozet, I saw some reusable ones somewhere once -- can't find them now -- but I bet, if you wanted to get fancy, you could just sew some little cloth pouches (with velcro closure! or button!) for sandwiches.

Meira -- interesting. I guess it would drip if you stored it upside down...

Man. All this is only demonstrating to me just how much plastic crap is still all around our house. Sophia wants desperately to chew on plastic baby-size clothes hangers, the remaining tupperware lids...sigh. And the toys. Toys are hard. I did find, at our local hardware store, some hardwood stuff: Shaker pegs, an egg, some rings -- and just rubbed them with some beeswax. She digs on the egg, especially, and it's too big to be a choking hazard.

Cat, Galloping

I totally get your need for a break from the insanity, but I've been waiting anxiously for a bottle recommendation, preferably not one shaped like a breast! I hate feeling like I'm poisoning Gatito every time I serve him with Dr. Brown's.

beth

As far as baby chew toys....I've seen sterling silver teething rings. I know it sounds a little bourgeoise, and I haven't done any research, maybe chewing on silver isn't a good thing either, but I guess it is an alternative to plastic. Both of my kids loved chewing on cloth. I just gave them a wash cloth or cloth diaper. Ani liked chewing wood too. There is a spot on the crib railing that got really chewed down, although I was always worried about splinters.

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