In my journey to making our day to day lives and our home more sustainable and having fewer toxins, I have been trying to free our lives of as much plastic as possible. There are many reasons to want to go plastic free in your kitchen: it’s better for the planet, more sustainable… but my primary reason was to keep the toxins away from our food.
Here are a few facts: Plastic contains a lot of toxic chemicals. BPA, BPS, Phthalates, and PVC are some of the most commonly found and the heavy hitters. These chemicals are known to cause problems with your endocrine system that can lead to hormonal imbalances, cancer, spontaneous miscarriage, early puberty, and more. The CDC found that 93% of Americans over the age of six have BPA in their urine and bloodstream. YIKES!
These were just some of the facts that put me over the edge to ditch as much plastic as I could in the kitchen – because we are in the kitchen ALL day long! Dishes and silverware come in contact with our food daily, which means it’s likely that those chemicals are going to make their way into our bodies. And since we homeschool, we are constantly at home cooking and eating. And eating and eating and eating….. because boys. ;) So I wanted to find plastic free items that were safe for my family
Just a quick sidetone… we are not perfect! We aren’t even close to 100% plastic free in our house, but we are constantly making strides in that direction. The kitchen was a room that took high priority for me, though, so I would say we are 95% plastic free here now. And disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
So here are six simple swaps we made in our kitchen to go plastic free with our kids:
We have two sets of plates and bowls. We have a set of Corelle plates and bowls that we keep in our cabinet. These aren’t only used for kids, obviously, but the plates and bowls are smaller than our regular dishes. They’re lightweight, but don’t break super easily. However, we do have a toddler, as well as tile floors in the kitchen. So we also have a set of stainless steel plates (that even have dividers – yay!) and bowls that we keep in a low cabinet. They’re easy for the kids to reach, plus they won’t break if they’re dropped on the floor. They will, however, make a really loud and obnoxious noise if your toddler chucks them across the room. Ask me how I know. ;) We do have a few wooden bowls that I’ve thrifted, and we used for baby bowls before I purchased the stainless steel ones. They’re great to use as snack bowls!
We have only two types of drinking glasses/cups in our house currently (okay, and also coffee mugs… because coffee). We have stainless steel cups (large and small) and mugs for the kids, and we have mason jars for our other dining glasses. My older kids use these too sometimes, but we keep the stainless steel cups in a lower cabinet by the plates. When we swapped from plastic to stainless steel cups, I was worried we would end up washing a hundred cups a day, since they’re all the same color. So I bought these silicone cup markers that stretch over the cups (and yep, they’re totally designed for beer glasses!). Each child has their own color, so they can set their cup on the table/counter and drink from it all day. It’s made my life easier, when they remember to use them. ;)
- Water Bottles
My kids really just drink water during the day, so I want them to have a good quality water bottle. Plus, it helps to cut down on the number of cups we wash… in theory anyway. ;) I’ve tried a LOT of different water bottles, found these Safe Sporter water bottles that we have LOVED and have lasted for years! They do have a plastic spout at the top, but the entire inside of the bottle is stainless steel. They’re easy to clean and easy to use for the kiddos. We have the larger size for my older boys and a small one for my toddler.
- Baby Bottles/Sippy Cups
When my youngest was a baby, he had a lip and a tongue tie that we discovered fairly late. Because of this, he had some complications that ended with me exclusively pumping and bottle feeding him. I hadn’t done a lot of bottles with my other kids, so this was new territory for me. I didn’t even own any bottles! I tried a few different bottles, but absolutely loved the Joovy Boob bottles! We had them in a both five and eight ounce sizes. With the silicone sleeves, we only lost one bottle in the 1.5+ years we used them. And they were dropped A LOT. I can’t recommend these enough.
We haven’t used sippy cups in awhile in our house, because my youngest didn’t really like using them. But we have used a couple safer, most sustainable versions that are worth sharing. The Kid Basix Safe Sippy is one we used often, you can use it with or without a straw inside. With some of my older boys, we used the Thermos FOOGO sippy and then their water bottles, and we also had the stainless version of the Munchkin 360 cup. My youngest never took to it unfortunately, so we ended up using it without the lid as a regular cup. But I know that many mamas LOVE the 360 cup, so I love that they came out with a safer version!
Most of our kids just use regular silverware, but by the time my youngest was born, I had already ditched all of our plastic silverware. I needed some safer baby spoons, so I found these great bamboo baby spoons that we loved and still use, plus these “sporks” that have silicone on one end, with a wooden handle.
I’m not sure why, but my kids think everything tastes better through a straw. We had some plastic reusable straws for awhile, but they seemed to get pretty gross pretty easily. So the switch to stainless steel reusable straws was a pretty simple one for us. We have some skinny straws (straight and bent) as well as some wide, smoothie straws. If you’re worried about safety with little ones, you can also use silicone straws. But the stainless steel straws have worked fine for all of us, even my toddler.
Now don’t let this list overwhelm you! We didn’t switch all of this at once. I took one category at a time and swapped them over a period of months or years. Each change you make is important for your family, as well as the environment! Having a toxin-free home is a goal that will take me years and years to accomplish, but every time I swap something out for a safe, non-toxic version, I feel that I’ve made one step toward keeping my family healthy.
If you’re worried that it’s more expensive, it’s really not. When we were using plastic cups and water bottles for our kids, I noticed they would break down and fall apart very quickly. Stainless steel lasts so much longer, rarely breaks, and doesn’t degrade in the dishwasher in the same way that plastic does. I haven’t had to replace any of our dishes (other than the glasses that have broken on the tile floor!) in years. We started using mason jars for drinking glasses, because we found them to be so much stronger than our regular drinking glasses. They are less likely to break, plus they’re multi-purpose: we use them for storing leftovers and taking food on the go as well as drinking out of them!
If you’re looking for more tips and ideas of how to change your habits and your home to be more sustainable for the environment and for the health of your family, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of a book I recently had the privilege of reading. My friend Kelsey Jorissen’s new e-book The Holistic Home came out in November and it’s all about making small changes throughout your home to live a more sustainable life.
The Holistic Home is chock-full of ideas for detoxing your kitchen and bathroom, tips on composting, ideas for safer products, and DIY recipes. It’s perfect for someone who is just beginning their journey of sustainable, non-toxic living OR someone who’s been on this path for awhile, like me. I consider myself pretty savvy in the natural living world, as I’ve already swapped out all my personal care and cleaning products to natural, non-toxic alternatives, but I still learned so much from Kelsey’s book!
Kelsey’s passion is definitely sustainable living from an environmental point of view, whereas my sustainability journey has been stemmed from a desire to live a non-toxic life from a health perspective. Obviously the two go hand in hand – I’ve always been conscious of my impact on the environment, but I just tend to look at health first, environment second. Kelsey has taught me SO much about sustainability from an environmental outlook. I loved reading about composting in her e-book, because composted some at our old house, but haven’t started back up since moving a few years ago. I’m excited to use her tips to start again. Kelsey also inspired me to switch to compostable garbage bags!
The Holistic Home is on sale through Wednesday 1/30, so make sure you grab yourself a copy while it’s discounted, with code newyear30.
And after you grab that, be sure to join my Natural Wellness group on Facebook! I share all kinds of tips and tricks on kicking the toxins out of your home and helping to support our health naturally. If you’re really ready to dive in to this natural life, grab your Premium Starter Kit. This is THE BEST way to get toxins out of your house and replace them with safe, natural, plant-based products.