Learn more about plastic free in Hawaii..
As we strive for a single use plastic free sustainable surf camp, many have questions about overall plastic usage. This is a popular discussion and you can easily find many helpful articles on the web.
The very best most of us can do is reduce our use of plastic. Look for and use natural alternatives when possible such as textiles, solid wood, bamboo, glass, stainless steel, etc. Look for items with less (or no) plastic packaging. If you do buy plastic, opt for products you can recycle or re-purpose (e.g. a yogurt tub re-used to store surf wax, bread bags for dog doo-doo). Some plastics are deemed more harmful than others, this is a simple start guide to the meaning of plastic symbols.
The most common plastics have a resin code in a chasing arrow symbol (mostly found on the bottom of the product).
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): AVOID
Common Uses: Soda Bottles, Water Bottles, Cooking Oil Bottles
Concerns: Can leach antimony and phthalates.
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Milk Jugs, Plastic Bags, Yogurt Cups
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride, aka Vinyl): AVOID
Common Uses: Condiment Bottles, Cling Wrap, Teething Rings, Toys, Shower Curtains
Concerns: Can leach lead and phthalates among other things. Can also off-gas toxic chemicals.
LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Produce Bags, Food Storage Containers
PP (Polypropylene): SAFER
Common Uses: Bottle Caps, Storage Containers, Dishware
PS (Polystyrene, aka Styrofoam): AVOID
Common Uses: Meat Trays, Foam Food Containers & Cups
Concerns: Can leach carcinogenic styrene and estrogenic alkylphenols
Other this is a catch-all category which includes:
PC (Polycarbonate): AVOID – can leach Bisphenol-A (BPA). It also includes ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile), Acrylic, and Polyamide. These plastics can be a safer option because they are typically very durable and resistant to high heat resulting in less leaching. Their drawbacks are that they are not typically recyclable and some need additional safety research. New plant-based, biodegradable plastics like PLA (Polylactic Acid) also fall into the #7 category, safer but costly being more expensive to make and using the same precious resources to manufacture as regular plastic and if not recycled correctly, sits in a dump for 100-1,000 years. Another downside of PLA biodegradable (a somewhat misleading phrase) plastic is that it is typically made from genetically modified corn, at least in the United States. The largest producer of PLA in the world is NatureWorks, a subsidiary of Cargill, which is the world’s largest provider of genetically modified corn seed. If the plastic in biodegradable bags breaks down faster and smaller, doesn’t that logically mean that we will now have tiny bits of plastic on the beaches and oceans which are almost impossible to pick up and easiest for sea creatures to eat? Biodegradable plastic, sounds better but unfortunately and sadly is not a sustainable solution in the long run.
There simply is not a magic plastic bag right now that can counter act the severely harmful overall effects of any type of plastic bag on the earth.
For more information on healthy kids and plastic click here
- Are Plastic Bottles Bad for You? (lifescript.com)
- What’s more important: less packaging or reusable packaging? (recyclethis.co.uk)
- Original bamboo bottles to replace the plastic ones (greendiary.com)
- The Risks of BPA Plastic and How to Avoid It (thedailygreen.com)
- Toys Can Pollute the Environment (brighthub.com)