Plastic storage containers
I am very considered about plastics and hate all the bulk containers that come home from the coop, where I do my best shopping to put things in my own glass containers or reusable bags. And when I do have to use the plastic containers provided I use them over many times. but mostly I am worried about not knowing what’s in them! We work so hard to buy the food we eat carefully and from good sources, knowing where it came from and what’s in it and that is exactly what mother nature offers and nothing more, but the concern of BPA’s and other chemicals and estrogen disrupters in plastic is real and big, and I want to be assured that it is not in the plastics the coop provides for cut pineapples, bulk items, cheeses, etc. I also would like to know what the coop is doing to source and use alternative plastics that are not environmental and human health hazards. Please inform!
It sounds like you’re already implementing the very best strategy since you’re trying to use glass and your own reusable containers. This is the best way to limit your exposure but there are a few other things you can do, too. Phenols are in all kinds of objects that we use everyday; receipt paper, soup cans, water bottles, etc. Choosing no receipt, buying soup in boxes instead of cans, buying glass jar tomatoes, etc. can help limit your overall exposure to these chemicals. Also, when you do buy plastics avoiding heating things in those plastics, washing by hand instead of dishwasher, and avoiding storing highly acidic foods in them can help further reduce exposure.
This is such a complex topic because there haven’t been definitive studies on either side of the argument. Studies have shown that humans can actually process these chemicals and they are excreted in urine while others suggest that these endocrine disruptors could be causing serious problems for humans. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research so we also don’t know the rate at which they become harmful to humans. In addition to the lack of research, the issue has become highly politicized and there’s strong lobbies on both sides producing false studies, deceptive marketing, etc.
The majority of plastic containers the Co-op uses are #5 which in general is considered one of the safest food plastics. With that said, it’s still plastic and it seems like everyday we learn more and more about plastics and their effect on our health.
We are actually currently evaluating our packaging company wide to continue to offer good options for people who are healthy and sustainable. Phenol-free options are definitely a priority for us as we evaluate packaging.
Thanks again for your comment, it really helps to get feedback like yours so we know what is important to our members!