CHICAGO, December, 1 2012 – Not all plastic bags and containers used in the kitchen are toxic, but even those considered safe have the potential to leach chemicals under certain conditions. For those readers new to plastic-awareness, some plastics leach or leak their chemicals into the foods they are storing.
Using plastic is also an environmental issue. Most plastics are made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. Many plastics that are labeled “recyclable” end up in our over filled landfills, oceans, and waterways.
Good To Know Tips About Using Plastic
~ Plastic sandwich bags are usually made with polyethylene, by some considered a nontoxic substance. However, it is possible that washing plastic bags for reuse will make them prone to leaching chemicals.
~ Harsh detergents, heat, and old age cause plastic items to lose integrity and leach the chemical compounds they are made of. If you use plastic containers, it is best to wash them in the sink with warm, soapy water. The heat inside a dishwasher will degrade the plastic and encourage leaching.
~ When a plastic dish is labeled micro-wave safe it means that there will be no observable damage when it is used in a microwave. You are always better off microwaving food in ceramic or glass dishes.
~ Foods that have high oil or fat content, or are acidic, tend to invite plastic containers to leach their chemical contents. Putting hot foods in plastic can do the same thing.
Six Non-plastic Kitchen Stocking Stuffers
1. Reusable Sandwich Bags are made of machine washable cloth, and some are labeled dishwasher safe as well. They make fun useful gifts since they come in a multitude of colors and designs.
2. Compostable Taster Spoons are made of a bioplastic derived from corn and other grain starches (called polylactic acid or PLA). Many PLA kitchen products are available such as storage containers, cups, and paper-like plates. Great for people who garden and have a compost pile.
3. String Produce Bags used to be a common sight and they still work wonderfully. They can contain up to 40 pounds of food and when not in use can be scrunched-up to fit in a purse or coat pocket. Some are made with organic, unbleached cotton, but they are also available in a rainbow of bright colors (using low impact dyes, of course).
4. Compostable Cling Wrap is perfect for those of us who do not want to lose the convenience of tear-off plastic wrap but worry about plastic coming in contact with food. Just imagine a loved one’s surprise when they find a stocking full of cling wrap. They will always remember the moment.
5. Stainless Steel Food Containers are airtight, leak-proof, come in stackable designs and are much less likely to stain than plastic. It is a great idea for people who love Tupperware but want to use less plastic. (This requires a huge Christmas stocking.)
6. Reusable Coffee Filters made from unbleached cotton are a useful money-saving gift. They are produced in several sizes, and some come wrapped in cellulose (degradable) packaging. Using them not only saves trees and energy but improves the taste of coffee (at least that’s the rumor).
Simply Google the items to start shopping for them or look for eco-friendly sites and stores. Happy green Christmas.
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