How much plastic are we eating?

How much plastic are we eating?

Several studies have began looking into the amount of plastic that we as humans could be consuming, whilst it will vary between diet, location and age it is undeniable that we are all unavoidably consuming plastic with some reporting it could be as much as 5 grams per week.

I’m sure you are sat there at this very moment wondering how it could be that you are consuming plastic? The source, is microplastics.

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic, which measure less than 5mm – many of these plastics however are considerably smaller and can only be seen under a microscope. They often come from single use plastics and leach into the environment through a variety of ways,

How do we consume them?

We can consume microplastics in a variety of ways, some may be inhaled purely through the air that we breathe but others are being consumed through the food and drink that we eat. Seafood can contain plastic from its life in the ocean or water that has been polluted, and much of our food and drink comes packaged in varying forms of plastic which can break down and leach on to consumables.

How can we avoid microplastics?

Grow Your Own

Growing your own produce is key to reducing plastic in the environment, often salads, berries and other vegetables are packaged in single use plastic which isn’t recyclable. It’s this very material that often breaks down into tiny microplastics and ends up in water sources as well as livestock.

We always encourage beginner growers to start with herbs! Many can be grown indoors and all year round or dried for use in cooking or tea at a later date, we’d encourage you to check out our friends at Urban Seed Lab for some great herbs to get you started. The ability to grow at home all year round is possible with our 4 season mini greenhouses, helping you miss out on even more plastic pollution.

A customer showing how you can make space in your garden to grow your easily with a Harvst greenhouse and some beds.
Buy Local

By buying locally, you are more likely to be able to avoid single use plastics. Why not try and find out if there are any veg boxes that deliver to your neighborhood? Or perhaps you can swap out your milk from the supermarket with refillable glass bottles from the local milkman?

One of the other great advantages to buying local is food miles. We can’t be expected to grow all of our own food at home (although wouldn’t that be great?!), so another benefit of buying local is that you still cut down on those miles that it takes to get your broccoli to your plate.

Top Tip
Most fishmongers, fruit & veg stalls and butchers will now accept reusable containers for you to pop all of your purchases into.

Choose Reusable

You may have noticed the rise in reusable bottles advertising the phrase ‘BPA free’ in recent years, BPA is a bioactive chemical that when exposed to heat or other conditions has been found to leach on to food and drink. Essentially that plastic transfers from the container, to your food or water.

For that reason we say skip the single use (yes, even if it’s recyclable!) and opt for reusable containers wherever you can.

Top tip
A BPA-free label isn’t enough to ensure that your bottle doesn’t have harmful chemicals in, if in doubt, we recommend using glass, metal or bamboo for storing your food and drink.

If you can’t bear to break up with supermarkets just yet, and you don’t have a refill store nearby, you can also try refill deliveries! Some smaller supermarkets are now offering a refill service, simply order online and they’ll be able to send them straight to your door. Seeya, plastic pasta packets!

If you have any tips on how to avoid plastic, make sure you pop them in the comments below!

Sources

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/you-eat-thousands-of-bits-of-plastic-every-year
https://www.water.org.uk/news-item/ground-breaking-new-research-shows-99-9-microplastics-are-being-removed-from-uk-drinking-water/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/05/people-eat-at-least-50000-plastic-particles-a-year-study-finds
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/microplastics-pollution-immune-reactions-toxic-substances-a8945281.html
https://graphics.reuters.com/ENVIRONMENT-PLASTIC/0100B4TF2MQ/index.html

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