Friday, October 8, 2010
How many glass jars can I break in a week? Well, so far it's 3. All at different times, too ...
I guess this is what I get for trying to replace all our plastic storage with glass. And perhaps, just perhaps, trying to do too many things at the same time. (Me? Never. ... Nelle? Nelle! Put that down!)
Ok, I'm back. And in case you're wondering what I'm doing with all these glass jars, well ...
I make jam and pickles and chutneys. I like the idea of reusing perfectly good things. And I'm very, very suspicious of plastic.
Why? Well, many of the plastics we use with our food everyday are made with toxic chemicals - and though the jury's out on whether these actually do leach into our food, or actually do damage our bodies' cells ... personally I'm not waiting for the general consensus. If some scientists out there say these things are bad, I'm willing to go with that - to minimise my own (and my family's) risk. Scientists tend to be very clever people (if I do say so myself).
Two of the worst chemicals are BPAs (Bisphenol A) and phlalates. You've probably heard about BPAs because some countries (including Canada) have started outlawing their use in baby bottles. Australia, by the way, hasn't. I'll let you read more about these chemicals in a really good article by Choice - which is consumer advocacy group here in Australia.
But the bottom line is:
Contamination of food is more likely to occur in a) old plastics, b) when you heat food in plastic containers and c) when you store or heat fatty foods in plastic containers. Why? Heat and fats both aid the transfer of the icky chemicals out of the plastic container and into the food.
So what can you do?
1. Use non-plastic storage containers, especially for fatty foods. I use pyrex or enamel storage dishes.
2. Don't heat up food in plastic containers.
3. Minimise your use of plastic wrap. Try cute paper bags for taking your lunch to work. Or retro metal lunchboxes. (You'll be the coolest kid in university)
4. Avoid getting takeaway coffees in styrofoam cups or in plastic-lined cardboard cups - buy yourself a stainless steel or enamel coffee cup instead, and you'll reduce waste, too.
5. Do more homecooking - reduce the number of steamy Indian curries (for example) you bring home in plastic tubs and you'll be saving money, reducing waste, and limiting your ingestion of toxins. I mean, from the plastics of course ...
And remember, a shard of glass in the foot is worth it now and then.