plas•tic al•ba•tross
(plas-tik lb-tros)

1. The Plastic Albatross is a community-focused campaign that provides helpful information about toxins in PLASTICS and other household products, and how these substances affect our health and environment.

2. We encourage local families, businesses, and organizations to limit their exposure to and consumption of plastic and commonly used toxic chemicals to work toward a toxin-free future!

Plastics

… all the plastic products ever made are still in existence, rotting slowly on landfill sites all over the world. — The Lifecycle of Plastic

What are Plastics?

Plastics are polymers that can be made from a variety of substances, but the majority are made from non-renewable and rapidly declining resources, like petroleum or natural gas. Many contain other toxic chemicals to improve performance and/or reduce production costs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the 47 chemical plants ranked highest in carcinogenic emissions, 35 are involved in plastic manufacturing.

Where are they found?

We are surrounded by plastic. You’d be hard pressed to find many objects in your home or workplace that are not made with some form of plastic. Even paint contains plastic.

  • children’s toys
  • medical devices, such as IV bags and tubing
  • automobile interiors
  • food packaging
  • take-out containers and shopping bags
  • furniture, flooring, appliances
  • computers, printers, cellphones

Why are they are harmful?

Health Problems: Plastic plays an ever-increasing role in our life on Earth, but the ubiquitous use of plastic is causing unprecedented health problems. A myriad of petroleum-based chemicals go into the manufacture of plastics. More and  more studies show that the production and use of many plastics leach cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting compounds into our bodies, our food, and our water.

Environmental Devastation: Human-made plastic polymers currently contribute up to 90% of the waste floating in the oceans. Pre-manufactured plastic polymer pellets and photo-degraded waste particles, which make up a large portion of ocean waste, leach toxins that upset normal reproductive and developmental processes and act as sponges for toxic chemicals such as DDT, PCBs and nonylphenols. They are consumed by all species of marine life and as they enter the food chain the concentration of toxins magnify. Due to the omnipresence of plastic in our lives, Americans are exposed to toxic plastic polymers at levels beyond those set by the EPA decades ago.

How can we avoid them?

Chemical and plastic industries have powerful lobbies and are not adequately regulated. Manufacturers are not required to release their ingredients, due to trade secrets laws. Only a small portion of all the plastic in the world is actually recycled, and there is a limit to the number of times it can be reformed. Most of the plastic you recycle turns into something that isn’t recyclable.

Since it falls on the individual to protect his/her health and environment, it seems wise to follow the precautionary principle and avoid plastics whenever a proven safe alternative is available. Since plastic is everywhere and in nearly everything, this is not an easy task, but it is possible and it is URGENT.

Refer to the suggestions below:

  • RECYCLE REDUCE!
  • ASK “What Would My Great Grandmother Do?
    Choose products made of tried and true materials like sustainable or recycled wood, glass, paper, & metal.
  • Choose health over convenience and consumption!
    Make a pledge to yourself, your family, your community, and your planet to reduce your plastic consumption.
Products to Avoid & Suggested Alternatives
Lose Use
Tupperware or other plastic food containers. Stainless Steel Food Storage, Happy Tiffin, or Anchor Hocking glass containers
plastic shopping bags Bring your own canvas bags
plastic produce and bulk bags. Cotton Muslin Bags for produce and grains or sew your own simple cloth bags!
ACME Organic or muslinbag.com are inexpensive.
vinyl shower curtains cotton or hemp (preferably organic) – lasts for years!
plastic toys Plan Toys – wooden toys
nylon bristle toothbrush Brooks natural bristle pearwood toothbrush
plastic-packaged laundry detergents Soap Nuts – no plastic packaging, not toxic chemicals, more loads for the cost
plastic water bottles Kleen Kanteen + Stainless Steel Cap
Gore-Tex/Teflon Glide and plastic-packaged floss Eco-Dent Floss – no toxic teflon, no plastic packaging
plastic baggies Natural Value Waxed Paper Bags
plastic wrap If You Care Recycled Aluminum Foil
plastic-packaged and synthetic fragranced soaps Organic Fiji Soap
vinyl flooring and plastic building products natural, sustainable materials like cork, stone, bamboo – Green Depot
acrylic latex paint Milk Paint – traditional paint made from organic raw materials, curdled milk, lime, and pigment.
plastic plates, forks, spoons, straws Stainless steel, sustainable wood, recycled paper, glass straws
expensive disposable plastic water filters Berkey Water Filters are stainless steel and use re-cleanable ceramic purification elements that last for years.