Plastic is a part of so many families’ daily lives. We use it to package sandwiches and snacks, bring lunches to work and school, carry water, and more. While plastics have become safer in recent years, BPA plastic is still commonly used despite its many risks. BPA can affect not only your family’s health, but the health of the environment as well by damaging animals and their habitats. Switching to non-plastic alternatives or using safer plastics, such as those used in bento lunch boxes, can help reduce the impact of plastics like BPA on the environment.
Environmental Effects of BPA
BPA can have an impact on wildlife, particularly on aquatic life in both freshwater and saltwater areas, which become reservoirs for contaminants. BPA has been known to mimic hormones and disrupt endocrine systems, including the kidney, liver, and gallbladder. Inhaling air or ingesting something that contains BPA may cause nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms in humans, and animals may experience the same effects if they are exposed to these chemicals. This can cause the animals to die off at larger rates, disrupting the ecosystem’s structure and affecting other animal and plant life nearby.
In certain species, including fish and turles, BPA can negatively affect reproduction. One study showed that fish exposed to BPA for just one week during embryonic development passed adverse reproductive effects onto their offspring for up to three generations. The effects included a reduced rate of fertilization and increased embryo mortality. In turtles, which are often considered good examples of how certain factors can affect other animals within their ecosystems, BPA exposure led to turtles that would likely be unable to reproduce in the future.
Mice showed a range of concerns in several studies, and scientists speculate that these effects may be seen in other animals, if tested. Various studies have shown that when exposed to BPA, mice have demonstrated negative behavioral effects, possible delays in bone formation, changes in liver cells, decreased motor activity, and increased anxiety and aggression. Mice also showed a range of reproductive issues, including decreased fetal weight, delayed onset of puberty in offspring, erratic regulation of ovulation, and lower fertility rates.
The Benefits of Safer Plastics
While some plastics manufacturers continue to use BPA, others have moved towards safer, more eco-friendly alternatives. These plastics are made with chemicals that do not alter hormonal chemistry or present other health risks, and they often biodegrade more quickly to help prevent accidental ingestion or exposure. Environmentally-friendly plastics are typically made of materials that are easier to recycle, including plant matter, allowing manufacturers to reuse them for other purposes. Not only does this prevent plastics from polluting the environment, it also save space in landfills and limits municipal waste.
Purchasing safer plastics such as bento lunch boxes also benefits to the environment before it is even purchased. Traditional plastics require a larger amount of resources, while eco-friendly alternatives typically have a more efficient manufacturing process that uses fewer. This helps decrease the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted during production while limiting the amount of oil used as ingredients and in generating electricity for the production process. Mining for oil is often a damaging process. Fracking can cause oil contamination, and drilling in oceans and other natural areas can disrupt wildlife if the oil spills. By limiting dependence on oil to produce plastics, consumers can protect ecosystems, animals, and their own sources of drinking water.
Finally, purchasing safer plastics can benefit your family directly. BPA and other chemicals can leach into food, especially when they are heated. They have been known to disrupt hormones in people, and switching to eco-friendly plastics can help your family avoid exposure to these toxins. You may also save money by making the switch. Many environmentally sound plastics are thinner and stronger than traditional materials, saving manufacturers costs that may lead to cheaper prices for consumers. These benefits, as well as the positive changes to wildlife, can make new forms of plastic an attractive option for conscious families.
How Bento Lunch Boxes Can Make a Difference
The more consumers choose not to purchase products with BPA in them, the more they will show manufacturers that the safety of the environment — and their families — is of utmost importance. Since lunchtime on the go is a major source of plastic, from sandwich wraps to storage containers, consider purchasing BPA-free bento lunch boxes. Kangovou’s boxes are made of BPA-free plastic lids and stainless steel containers, which are divided into sections that allow parents to pack multiple foods in one container. This decreases the amount of storage methods needed to pack a lunch, neatly keeping an entire meal together within a reusable and environmentally-sound box. Make the decision to shop for your BPA free bento lunch boxes for you and your family so you can make lunch easier while doing your part in protecting the environment.