Since last fall I have been slowly but surely weaning our household off of plastic. Retiring the rubbermaid and replacing it with glass dishes. Putting a moratorium on microwaving anything in plastic. Parting with my beloved Nalgene bottles and replacing it with a cool Kleen Kanteen.
This all started when I listened to a local holistic physicial speak about environmental factors and health. Initially I thought she was a bit extreme, until I started reading more about it. As I see it, why not take the safer route if given a chance. After all, in the end our health and finances boil down to doing the best we can with what we know.
Yet, yesterday as I made the final leap from my old number seven plastic bottles by purchasing new BPA free Nalgene bottles, Camelback bottles, and biking bottles, I felt a bit like I did as a teen when I had to fork over a lot of cash to overhaul my cassette tape collection when CD's came out. A lot poorer and a bit discouraged buying goods I already had.
At the end of the day I believe it is worth it. Though, like all things financial it is a personal decision and nothing is guaranteed. So, here are some thoughts from around the web to help you delve into the dilemma a little deeper for yourself.
First off, what's all the fuss about? Baby Star Blog sums it up well in "safety tip = information on BPA"
Depending on what you read, one ingredient found in many hard, polycarbonate plastics is either perfectly safe or a dangerous health risk.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a synthetic compound that is quickly becoming a household name while provoking vigorous debate in the scientific world.
Produced in vast quantities every year, BPA is found in plastics used to make some water bottles and baby bottles. It also is contained in the lining of food cans, soda cans and possibly wine vats. BPA can leach out of these cans and bottles and enter into the food or drink contained in them, especially when the containers or contents are heated to high temperatures.
How can you tell if the plastic bottle is made with polycarbonate plastic? Look for the number seven inside a triangle on the bottom of the bottle. There are, however, other types of plastic that contain BPA which are not labeled, such as:
*epoxy-phenolic resin lining cans and metal lids
*coatings for storage tanks
I think it is interesting that the view from Canada is so vastly different than what I read from the United States approach. LesTout goes on to say:
Plastic bottles, especially polycarbonate plastic, have been taking a lot of heat lately after research has linked the plastic to possible causes of breast and prostate cancer. While the industry has tried to calm concerns by saying the bottles are safe, Canada has decided to be the first to take the "better safe than sorry" approach and ban the import and sale polycarbonate plastic baby bottles.
In contrast, everything I read in the US is a cat and mouse game between chemical companies and health advocates. It is either harmless or a health risk, depending on who you listen to. Of course that is a post for another person in another category!
The whole BPA thing is not just a concern for outdoor types, athletes, and your average water bottle toting professional like myself. Perhaps the greatest concern lies for parents because it affects baby and children bottles as Kristie shares this in "What is going on in the Seale house"
I made a mad dash for Babies-R-Us yesterday to exchange all of my bottles. They are allowing you to bring all bottles that are not BPA free and you can get a full exchange of BPA free items. So I ended up getting $96 worth of bottles.
The good news at the end of the day is that the huge shift toward re-usable and safe bottles is the possible impact on the environment AND your pocket. In a July 2007 Fast Company article it serves up these staggering figures:
Americans spent more money last year on bottled water than on ipods or movie tickets: $15 Billion.
The good news is - tap water is making a comeback. Ashley at Wide Open Wallet shares some thoughts spurred by the book "Go Green, Live Rich" by David Bach in "Green Living: Bottled Water":
David Bach states that the energy it takes to produce the bottles could power 100,000 cars for a year. Not to mention the impact of transporting 1 billion water bottles per week. While the thought of all that is enough to make me cringe the fact remains that if they took away bottled water people would die. Around here anyways. But that doesn’t mean we can’t reduce what we use.
Mr. Bach gives costs that are staggering enough to almost make me switch to tap. He says that if you drink 8 cups a day of bottled water (which is 4 bottles a day) then you are spending $2,500 a year on bottled water. The same amount of tap water would cost $1. While those are impressive numbers I think they are a tad exaggerated. Even I don’t drink 4 bottles a day, and I certainly don’t spend $1.70 per bottle.
While the numbers might be high, I have to say I easily drink 70-100 ounces of water a day just "straight up" as water and then gosh knows how many cups in the form of green and herbal tea here and there. Granted it varies according to season (I am in Pennsylvania) and activity level, but I am a huge water drinker. I have found taking the plunge with a Shaklee water filter coupled with my BPA free bottles to be a great way to stay well hydrated, drink great tasting water, and cut back on money spent on recycle bin filling plastic bottles. It shouldn't be a financial drain to simply stay hydrated. So, don't blow the budget...reuse a safe BPA free bottle and have the best of both worlds.
Paula Gregorowicz, owner of The Paula G. Company, works with women who are ready to create their lives and businesses the way the want rather than how they were told they "should". Get the free 12 part eCourse "How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin" http://www.coaching4lesbians.com and start taking charge of your own success.
To get the latest word on personal finances from an LGBT perspective and Paula's practical coach approach to the topic check out Queercents http://www.queercents.com.
Are you a small or solo business owner who wants to be comfortable in their own skin online via a website that is a true reflection of who you are and what your business is about? Paula's signature down to earth and "plain English" approach to website design and consulting can help. Visit http://www.paulagwebdesign.com to download the free successful website planner which will make your web project a breeze.
More from living