Plastic in our food

PlasticWithout you realising you are eating tiny plastic particles. It is true! And we also smear it onto our skin. Plastic enters our food through the food chain and the amounts are only going to increase as long as we don't do anything about it.

In 2050 more plastic than fish in the sea

The expectation is as such that the coming years industries will continue to massively produce plastics and that in the year 250 there is more plastic floating around in the oceans than there are fish swimming in it. Much plastic is simply dumped in the sea or finds the ocean in different ways.

Boyan Slat

The Dutchman Boyan Slat won the environmental award in 2014 from the United Nations. He is the inventor of a project called 'The Ocean Cleanup'. With this project it should become possible to take large quantities of plastic out of the oceans. For this project he designed an installation that floats on the sea and where plastic is caught in long arms and is then sucked away.

Plastic breaks down into tiny particles

The problem of plastic in the oceans is that it is never broken down. In time it will diminish into tiny particles, microscopically small even. Scientists call these fragments. Of course the bigger plastic parts are also causing problems for animals. Kilos of plastic have been found in the stomachs of dolphins, sea lions and whales. But especially the fragments pose a threat to the life in the sea and on earth.

Small parts of plastic enter the food chain

The danger of plastic in the seas should not be underestimated. Because the very tiny plastic particles will enter our food chain. And in the following way. Many sea animals, but also animals on land, appear to often see plastic as food. And even small organisms such as shells and plankton, that filter water, will get the tiny particles of plastic into their system.
Turtles often think that plastic that floats in the sea are jellyfish. Not to speak about birds such as sea gulls. In the stomachs of these creatures we can almost always find plastic, and that is quite scary. Especially because land animals, such as bees and insects, but also grazers will view plastic to be food. In honey we can almost always find fragments of plastic. This means that this is already far into our food chain.

One fish on your plate contains up to 300 fragments...

The junk that is found in the oceans and seas we also call plastic soup. In different areas the currents are as such that all this junk comes together into one big floating mass. In time the plastic is damaged by, amongst other factors, uv radiation and falls apart.
The particles will end up being so small that almost all of the animals in the sea will eat these. Fish and mussels already appear to contain these particles. In some fish we can even find up to 300 tiny particles. Do you love to eat fish? Make sure you skip the codfish! We can find relatively many particles in this type of fish. Mackerel is a safer option at the moment.

What can you do yourself?

You can also come into action yourself and thereby prevent plastic from entering your body. Take sandwich bags for instance. Take your sandwich with you in a metal container in the future. And if you really can't, take a hard plastic container with you to take your food in. Make sure you never use cellophane film to wrap/contain your food in for storage in the fridge. Wrap your leftovers into paper or aluminium foil. Be sure to also not put your groceries into a plastic bag. Many supermarkets offer plastic bags as well as paper bags. Buy your dairy in a bottle and not in the carton boxes (a lot of plastic is also used in them).
The same goes for oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil. And sauces. Not only will you protect the environment, you will also prevent those tiny particles to enter in all those products. Because the latter really happens!

More tips to avoid plastics from entering your body

  • Never again use plastic cups for coffee, tea or soup at work or wherever. Because of the high temperatures the cups slightly melt, even though you often do not notice. 
  • Even in particular foods people process plastics! For instance in powdered milk for coffee.
  • The same goes for plastic straws. You can change for a straw of bamboo or glass.
  • Many supplements that you have to swallow at once are covered in a plastic coating. This is harmful.
  • Use good toothpastes that you can find in different eco or health stores. In almost all toothpastes the manufacturers process plastic in them.

Water bottles, very polluting!

Finally a word on water bottles. Supermarkets are full of them and you can buy them on every corner of the street. They appear to be enormous polluters! And did you know that you need a lot of oil to make one water bottle? If you take the content of 1 plastic drinking water bottle, then it would consist 1/3rd of oil.
That is how much there is needed to make one bottle. Just drink (filtered) tap water and when you go out make sure you brink a metal canteen with you. This is healthier, environment friendly and you don't pay as much for it!


Article written by: roybor
Times read: 1643x
Added: 17-01-2017 08:46
Last modified: 27-03-2017 00:33

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