Environment, Need to know

Microplastics in Your Food?

plastic everything ends up in the ocean

Did you know that microplastics (broken down pieces of plastic less than five millimeters  or less than 1/4 inches long) have been found in salt and seafood? Even if you do not eat seafood, our marine animals are being harmed by plastics and consuming microplastics.

“Currently plastics are being produced at an exponentially increasing rate, but globally our waste disposal technology and capacity is not increasing at the same rate,” said Qamar Schuyler leader of an international study published in Global Change Biology.

Rick and I recently toured the Greanpeace ship and learned so much about their campaign against plastics. Check out our tour and hear what we learned about the ship and their findings on plastics.

According to an article by John Robbins, thanks to the quantity of plastic now adrift in the ocean, there is a significant health issue involving the direct ingestion of plastic by consumers “Fish and other invertebrates are eating microplastics by the ton.

Smaller fish, like sardines, eat this plastic, and then they’re eaten by larger fish. When fish become seafood, the tiny bits of plastic (and associated toxins) make their way into the mouths and bodies of consumers. Sea turtles eat jellyfish and studies show they have eaten plastic bags which look like jellyfish.

This problem has led some scientists to start calling the ocean a “plastic soup.”

A 2015 study published in the journal IOPScience estimated that in 2014, the number of microplastics in the ocean ranged from 15 to 51 trillion pieces, weighing between 93,000 and 236,000 metric tons.”.

John Robbins recommends

10 Ways You Can Help Solve the Plastic Problem

Here are some ideas for helping solve the plastic problem by cutting back on single-use plastic:

#1 – Help Keep 100 Billion Plastic Bags Out of the Ocean With Reusable, Portable Totes

If you live in a place where grocery stores still give out plastic bags, it’s easy to fall back into using them — or to opt for paper, which has its own environmental problems.

To make it easier, keep a few reusable bags in your car so they’ll always be handy when you need to stock your fridge. The next time you’re asked, “Paper or plastic?,” you can say: “Neither! I brought my own bags.”

#2 – Reuse Your “Disposable” Bags

Whenever you do end up with plastic or paper bags, reuse them as much as possible. Take them to the store, collect recycling items in paper, or use old plastic bags for kitty litter, dog waste scooping, or to line your trash bins.

In our home, if they aren’t too soiled, we rinse and air-dry our plastic, produce bags so we can reuse them when we go back to the store.

#3 – Carry Your Water Bottle Everywhere

Drinking water is wonderful, but it produces a lot of waste if you’re opting for bottled water.

Here’s a better option: Buy your own glass or stainless steel water bottle and bring it with you everywhere you go.

If you have a home filter, like the AquaTru, you can bring clean water with you whenever you go out.

#4 – Use Glass Jars for Leftovers and Storage

Instead of plastic packaging, use glass jars and other containers to store your food.

If you start reusing glass jars from sauces and other store-bought items, you’ll have a big collection of containers in no time. I like these glass containers because they have straight edges which enables you to fit more on the shelf without wasted, empty spaces.

#5 – Buy in Bulk When You Can

Many stores have significant bulk buying departments, where you can stock up on flour, legumes, nuts, seeds, seasonings, dried fruit, and all kinds of other ingredients — often for a sizable discount.

Bring a reusable silicone bagglass jars (pre-weighed so you don’t have to pay for the glass at checkout) or reused plastic bags from home and get exactly as much as you need.

#6 – Snag Some Stainless Steel Straws or Opt Out of Straws Altogether

Plastic straws are on the way out. If you’re a fan of drinking beverages through a straw (or if you need to drink through a straw for health reasons), you can buy some stainless steel straws to carry with you. A pack of four could last you a lifetime — and they come with a special brush for cleaning.  Straws only make up an estimated less than 10% of the nine million tons of plastic pollution that gets into the world’s oceans annually.

#7 – Skip the Fast Food

Eating fast food or takeout means creating a lot of waste. And it’s usually bad for you, too. Opt for cooking your own healthy food at home, instead. When you do decide to eat out, bring along a reusable container for leftovers.

#8 – Bring Your Own Utensils

Instead of using plastic cutlery when you do eat out (or for your homemade lunch at work), buy a portable bamboo utensil kit.

#9 – Consider Wooden Handled Brushes

Items like tooth brushes, and vegetable brushes  can be purchased with wooden handles instead of plastic.

#10 – Don’t Use Plastic Wrap

Instead, use reusable Silicone Bowl Covers

After touring the Greenpeace ship we learned so much about the islands of plastic, floating in our oceans (one is about three times the size of  Texas (for those in the UK Texas is about the size of France). 

Just as we learned about the deleterious health effects of animal products and processed foods, we can’t unlearn the truth about the impact of single use plastics on humans, our environment, the animals, and our world.

What are some of the steps you take to help eliminate the waste of single use plastics?

If you would like to learn other ways to navigate this lifestyle, please contact me for a coaching session. I have learned many strategies, tips and hacks while coaching people since 2012. I would love to help you be successful as well.

Amy holds a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell

E Cornell center-for-nutrition-studies

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Be Strong, Be Well and Be Green!