Earth Day Experiment: My Plastic Inventory

For Earth Day next week, I decided to do a personal inventory of the amount of plastic in my daily life. I l kept it simple and didn’t include things related to having two young children (it’d seriously skew the number). I only counted plastic containers, products or pieces of plastic I consumed or touched as part of my day. I kept a Daily Plastic Tally for 5 whole days. And the results? It isn’t pretty – on an average day I touch 53 plastic products (the range went from 34 to 76). Here’s my average list of things:

  1. Alarm clock
  2. Shampoo bottle
  3. Soap holder
  4. Razor
  5. Moisturizer
  6. Sunscreen
  7. Deodorant
  8. Toothbrush
  9. Toothpaste
  10. Dental floss container
  11. Trashcan
  12. Hairdryer
  13. Hair products
  14. Medicine container
  15. Make up pods
  16. Lip balm
  17. Cereal liner
  18. Milk carton
  19. Toaster (plastic lever)
  20. Yogurt cup
  21. Dried fruit container
  22. Hot water kettle (for tea)
  23. iPhone case
  24. iPhone charger (wires are coated in plastic and the charging base is plastic)
  25. Credit cards (made of plastic)
  26. Car (so many parts are made of PVCs and other plastics)
  27. Hand sanitizer
  28. Tissue soft pack
  29. Desktop screen
  30. Keyboard
  31. Desk phone
  32. Pen
  33. Presentation remote
  34. Elevator button
  35. Bread bag
  36. Deli meat container
  37. Condiment jar
  38. Refrigerator
  39. Snack zip-top bag
  40. Frozen vegetable bags
  41. Food packaging
  42. Radio/CD player
  43. Light switches
  44. DVD case
  45. TV Remote control
  46. TV
  47. Camera (I take pictures nearly every day with a digital SLR, but the body is mostly plastic)
  48. Various gym equipment (this could get long – think treadmill, bike helmet, swim goggles, push up bar, etc)
  49. Random kitchen tools like spatulas, measuring cups
  50. Dishwashing soap
  51. Sponge scrubber
  52. Dish drying rack
  53. Laundry soap and measuring cap


To be fair, plastic is unavoidable in certain things and in some ways it can reduce the weight of products or increase the convenience. But as I kept tallying – day after day – I kept realizing I could make better choices and cut down on the plastic in my life.  For the last 36 days, I’ve been tweeting the 1 green thing (see #my1greenthing) and challenging myself to make an effort to be better for my health and the environment. Thankfully my water bottle is glass with silicone grippers and cap and I switched to glass food storage containers. Small changes add up.

So what do you think? Or better still send me your Daily Plastics Number and any tips you have to cut down on the plastic.

New Study: Food Packaging Impacts BPA Levels in People

It seems that plastics are being more and more closely scrutinized for their potential role in impacting our health (not to mention the environment).  This new study asked the question, “What happens when you remove BPA from your diet?”  To get to the answer they replaced common food packaging for families for three days – and the results? Their individual BPA levels dropped more than 60% – that’s right more than 60% in just three days, amazing. And it wasn’t just BPA they tested for, they also tested for phthalates (DEHP and others) and other hormone-disrupting chemicals and every level dropped.

How’d they do it? They replaced canned or plastic packaged food with fresh foods for three days, testing families before, during and after. You can get the full details of the study here.  What really strikes me though, is the dramatic impact after only three days.  The takeaway from The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute which conducted the study:

“…you can reduce your BPA exposure by cooking fresh foods at home, avoiding canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic.”

Better still, they offer a handy wallet card or mobile card listing 10 top packaged foods to avoid.  They also recommend using glass or stainless steel food and beverage containers.

The study was conducted by Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute, with funding from the Passport Foundation.

New Study Confirms Everyday Plastics Leach Chemicals

Should we all be surprised?  A new study from the researchers at Environmental Health Perspectives confirms that plastics – from plastic sippy cups to plastic water bottles to plastic wrap – release chemicals that mimic the sex hormone estrogen. 

The researchers bought more than 450 products that come in contact with food or beverage from your everyday stores like Whole Foods and Walmart.  In lab testing, which isn’t as volatile as the real-world where we get hot sun, cold refrigeration, microwaves and freezers, more than 70% of the products leached estrogenic chemicals.

This chemical release even happens from BPA-free plastic, long thought to be the only plastic chemical culprit to potentially affect our health. In the study, researchers took plastic water bottles and plastic baby bottles that are BPA-free and 100% of them leached estrogenic chemicals.

You can read the full study here and decide for yourself. For our team at BottlesUp, you can understand why we’re committed to zero plastics in our products and our packaging.  Join in and take a vow now to minimize plastic and when you can – go glass.

The Impact of Oil: The Visual Story

If you didn’t know, plastic is made from oil – its petroleum by-products. And while we posted earlier about Edward Burtynsky’s TED Prize Talk, this month he made a very compelling return to the TED stage. He presented his latest work on the impact of oil on our environment. While the world noticed oil’s impact from the news this summer from the BP Oil Spill, we move along quickly from major news stories and move on with our lives. But oil is part of our everyday lives – from plastic in packaging to containers to the oil we use in heating and in running our cars. Take in the visual images from Edward’s latest work below.

You’ll understand why we’re 100% plastic free in our products and our packaging.

Infographic: 2010 Water Consumption in the U.S.


I know we like to share infographics, we find their ability to share our consumption in interesting ways helps us all better understand the impact of our plastic water bottle habit.  Check out this one below from Do The Reuse Challenge that equates our U.S. water bottle consumption to fueling school buses. No matter how you look at it, we’re way over-consuming plastic.

It’s why we’re focused on giving you a better and more beautiful option.

Credit: Do the Reuse Challenge
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