Reduce Your Plastic Use and Improve your Health and the Environment

There has been a lot written about plastic lately. Not only is it harmful to the environment but overwhelming studies are finding plastic harmful to your health. Consider these facts;

  • Plastics production produces 14 percent of toxic air emissions in the U.S., and each plant emits an average of 300-500 gallons of contaminated wastewater per minute. (It’s Easy Being Green book)
  • 100 million plastic bottles dumped in US every year. Each bottle will take over 1,000 years to biodegrade.  (SIGG)
  • BPA (a plastic hardening agent prevalent in bottles, cups and lined tin cans) is so prevalent in food packaging and other consumer items that prior research has detected its presence in at least 90% of Americans. A group of 20 San Francisco residents had 66% less BPA in their urine after three days on a diet of fresh, organic and unpackaged food, scientists found. (Silent Spring Institute)
  • 500 billion plastic bags or wraps are thrown away in America each year and are created with 12 million barrels of oil. (DropthePlasticBag.org)

Find out the facts about plastic for yourself with these resources;

Plastic Disclosure is a great website that offers facts and information about the harmful effects of plastic.

GreenBiz released this article a few weeks ago about the plastic use in corporations.

New York Times released this article on the issue of plastic and waste

If you want a more lighthearted approach, view the movie Bag It, that was released early in 2011. It discusses all the issues with plastic. For a review, go to this blog entry.

Promote more meat-free cafeteria options

How many vegetarian options does the cafeteria at your office offer?  In general a vegetarian diet requires fewer resources, and thus has a far lower environmental impact.  Meat production uses a lot of resources including energy, water and grain. It takes 100 times more water to produce a pound of meat than a pound of wheat.  Essentially you would save more water by not eating a single pound of beef than you would by not showering for an entire year!!  A 6 ounce steak uses over 24 times as much fossil fuels as the same equivalent of vegetables and rice.

Eating more vegetarian also saves trees. One of the causes of rainforest deforestation is to create grazing land. When a person becomes a vegetarian they are essentially saving an acre of trees per year. Additionally, cows are the biggest contributor to methane gas, which is one of the primary causes of global warming

Adding more vegetarian options doesn’t mean there won’t still be meat options.  If there are more vegetarian options and variety to choose from often employees will choose them. Vegetarian Times has some great vegetarian recipes.