Our Collection of Alternatives!
A few years ago, we began to phase out our plastic sippy cups and #7 Nalgene bottles. My concerns all started with an article that I read in a magazine called Organic Living. The article detailed the hazards of plastics leaching toxins into our food and drinking water. Very recently, the safety of plastics has been addressed more thoroughly, providing the consumer with alternatives to the unsafe choices that may linger in our own kitchen cabinets.
The main concern is Bisphenol-A or better known as BPA, which is used in many baby bottles and Nalgene water bottles. BPA is considered toxic because it's a hormone disruptor. Other plastics to avoid contain endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. Studies show the bottles are more prone to leaching when they are heated (microwave, dishwasher) and scratched or the surface has been damaged.
There are a few top plastics to avoid, it's easy to find the type of plastic (#) on the bottom of the waterbottle or plastic container, simply by looking in the triangle, typically used for recycling purposes. Now, unfortunately a few of my daughter's cups don't even have the number on the bottom, so you have to do some detective work. I will provide resources for those issues.
Definitely Avoid or Throw Away-
#3- PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
#7, Polycarbonate are hard plastic water bottles, typically your Nalgene style bottle or baby bottles. Nalgene and Camelback are now touting their #7 Polycarbonate bottles are BPA free. Obviously you are going to have to decipher if it's a good or bad #7 by the age of the bottle. If you purchased it within the last few months and it had a sticker stating BPA Free, you are good to go. If it's old, time to toss it.
With the new or old, safe or unsafe confusion, I have phased out #7 in my home completely.
Better Plastic Alternatives:
#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE), most commonly used for bottled drinks.
#2 High Density Polyethylene
#4 Low Density Polyethylene
#5 Polypropylene, most of your disposable style food storage containers are made of this.
Top Suggestions For Safely Using Plastic-
Start to handwash your plastics. Huge pain in the butt, unfortunately the alternative may be hurting your health. Yes, warm water is ok to use, it's the temperature in the dishwasher that heats the plastic. Stop microwaving plastic NOW. Use pyrex or glass storage containers. Sniff and then taste. If it tastes like plastic, avoid it.
Klean Kanteen, hands down is my favorite alternative water bottle. Why, I can safely put it in the dishwasher! It's all stainless steel and they come with sport top or Advent sippy cup tops. We purchased ours here, but more and more retailers are carrying Klean Kanteens, which now even in come in a rainbow of colors. I also enjoy Sigg or Laken water bottles, but because of their internal lining they are not dishwasher safe.
The leading authority on this topic, protecting babies and children from the hazards is Z REcommends. They put out Z Reports on BPA, do extensive studies on brands to buy and avoid. Please check them out here for a downloadable wallet size "safe brand" card!
National Geographic informative link.
We also started phasing out our plastic food storage containers, although not completely. We most often use glass storage containers from Crate and Barrel.