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70: Jay Sinha, Co-Founder of Life Without Plastic

Guest Name(s): Jay Sinha

Matt Matern interviews Jay Sinha, co-founder of Life Without Plastic. Jay shares the story behind the company’s founding and discusses the dangers of plastics, particularly endocrine disruptors like BPA. He explains the lifecycle and environmental impact of plastics, offering practical solutions for reducing plastic use, such as using non-plastic containers.

Jay critiques recycling’s effectiveness and calls for stronger regulations. He also explores bioplastics and emphasizes the need for clear labeling and policy changes.

 

Life Without Plastic >>

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Our VISION is a world without fossil-fuel derived plastic. Period. Our MISSION is to raise awareness on the health and environmental problems posed by plastics while making the solutions more accessible, and empowering people to be part of the change. Our QUEST (cue the Lord of the Rings music) is to help as many living beings as possible, including humans, wildlife, and our shared home, Earth, by encouraging decreased plastic use…
Episode 70: Jay Sinha, Author, Lawyer, & Co-Founder of Life Without Plastic
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You’re listening to Unite and Heal America. This is Matt Matern, your host, and I’ve got Jay Sinha. With us today. Jay is the co-founder of Life Without Plastic. Jay, welcome to the show. Thanks for being with us.

Thank you, Matt. Great to be here with you.

I may have butchered your pronunciation of your last name, maybe you can send us straight.

No, that’s That’s brilliant.

Okay, great. Well, Jay, again, thanks for being on the program. Tell us a little bit. I mean, you’re the name of your organization kind of speaks for itself a bit, which is a good thing to be very clear on the purpose. Tell us a little bit about your background. And what brought you to starting this organization?

Sure, Matt. Yeah. Well, I’ve always been interested in the environment literally from from being a child. And the company Life Without Plastic has a birth that came actually out of the birth of the son that my co founder, Chantal and I had, we’re, we’re now business partners, we’re no longer a couple. But we had a son back in 2003. And when that that happened, we were looking for ways to try and minimize our exposure to not just plastic but environmental toxins and chemicals. In general, we had had a bad experience with mold.

And a couple of places we were living in and became somewhat environmentally sensitive. So and then we started reading a little bit about plastic and thought well like to try and avoid as much as possible. And in particular, we were looking for non plastic baby bottles. And back in 2003, this was actually very hard to find. Now you can find, for example, glass bottles, but back then there really wasn’t much around out there. There were back in the 70s way, way long ago, glass bottles, but they had been phased out and we’re slowly coming back.

So that’s what kind of started us on this, this journey, we were looking for non plastic glass bottles, and we came across a company even flow in Ohio that was still making them but they only sold them wholesale. And so we adore her 1000, then that’s kind of how the company began, we started offering some plastic alternatives to others, because we knew there were others out there looking for.

Well, that’s a that’s a great origin story and starts with something very close and near and dear to you, your child, your son and wanting to take care of, of your son the best way possible. And, and we all know that these plastics are kind of ubiquitous. It’s, it is challenging to get away from that yet there are ways and it’s certainly valuable to find them. So. So then where did the story turn from there?

Yeah, so from there, we began adding new items to our products, things like stainless steel containers, stainless steel bottles, bags, a big catalyst happened in 2007, when we’re based in Canada, and there was a ban that the Canadian government put on the production of baby bottle is made out of Bisphenol A, which is a plastic chemical that is a base base plastic resin, which is also an endocrine disruptor hormone disruptor.

And you probably seen around BPA, it’s become quite a common term. And you can find BPA free bottles and such. But that was a real catalyst because it began to put into the public psyche, the idea that there could be a problem with plastic that and the whole, probably heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean.

A fellow named Captain Charles Alec, Aleta and LA was the first discover of this huge agglomeration of plastic formed by different gyres concentrating plastic, that to put it on the public psyche. So with that, and this BPA ban, people became much more aware, and were looking for alternatives to plastics. So from there we, we, we offer these alternatives to plastics.

But we’ve also been a key element of what we do is providing information about the plastics issue, in particular, the health and the environmental aspects and you the health is somewhat new, you didn’t hear much about that, except in the last few years, it’s come up, it’s always been more about the environment.

But for us, the health has always been front and center as well. So we’ve we’ve provided information about that. And it just expanded and we eventually wrote a book in 2017 a bit of a distillation of our experience over the past 15 years to put it all together.

Well, I certainly have read bit about plastics and and certainly looking for you to educate myself. Often the rest of the audience about this, and one of the things that I’ve heard was that all of us have approximately a credit card size amount of plastics running around in our, in our systems based upon all the micro plastics that we’re ingesting from, say fish that we eat or other forms of environmental factors. Tell us a little bit about that and and how we can reduce that going forward.

Yeah, absolutely. That’s that’s really at the core a core of the issue right now is the fact that there are plastics basically everywhere. And so you mentioned microplastics. And I would take it even a step further scale further and mentioned nanoplastics, as well, which is a further breakdown of the microplastics into smaller and smaller plastics, which are so tiny that they can actually cross the skin barrier and cellular barriers and inside the body.

So it’s a real issue. But what you mentioned, like one of the core studies indicates that we’re generally taking in about 30 to 50,000 plastic, plastic particles per year, depending on age and sex. And if you include that, that’s just through containers, like bottles and food containers. And if you include inhalation of air, it goes up to well over 100,000 particles per year. And if you include your primary water source being bottled water goes up almost another 100,000 particles per year.

So it’s really there. And all around us and plastics with the breakdown of larger plastics in the environment. They eventually through through weathering through sun, they do eventually break down into smaller pieces and, and are now found in the air. It’s been mentioned on the top of Everest down and the deepest depths of the ocean bottom of the Mariana Trench.

So it’s really impossible now to actually live without plastic because it will find you even if you are trying to live without it. So I mean ways to there are lots of ways to, I would say minimize your exposure to plastic i At this point, given what we’ve we’ve just been talking about you can’t completely avoid it anymore. But to minimize there are lots of things you can do. And we we put the emphasis on really individual action, what you can do as an individual and our core focus initially was food and the food and beverages we put into our body and how we can actually minimize our exposure to plastics through through food and drink.

So using non-plastic containers, there’s a lot of low flat, low lying, low hanging fruit that you can can hand can tackle such as getting yourself a stainless steel water bottle, not using a plastic straw using non plastic containers for food, trying to avoid takeout, takeout containers, especially Styrofoam which is made out of a plastic called polystyrene, which is really quite unstable and leeches, chemicals quite easily.

This is the problem with plastics is that they do release chemicals from them, which are harmful to living beings. And the big broad category of these chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors or hormone disrupting chemicals, which actually in part, impact our hormonal system, which is in our bodies, which is key to basically all kinds of human bodily functions.

So if the endocrine system is impacted, it’s going to really have an impact on life in general. So by minimizing the exposure to these, these disrupting hormone disrupting chemicals, we can actually make a difference for our health over the long term.

I certainly had experienced on occasion say microwaving things that were plastic containers, or the plastic wrap and things like that you felt like some of it literally was melting into your food a bit. And I was curious as to the science behind that and whether microwave, you know, further releases plastics into the food that we’re eating.

That’s a really good point. That’s an example we often use because so yeah, it’s a perfect example of microwaving or heating. Not even just microwaving by heating up a plastic container to a very hot temperature because what happens is, when it’s an unstable plastics, such as, for example polyvinyl chloride, which is very common still in all kinds of product, the that’s that plastic is made up of a lot of plasticizers, which include phthalates which is an endocrine disrupting cabinet chemical, and so when they’re exposed to heat, and also to oil, oily foods.

The the plastic is so unstable that the oil or Over the food when when heated up can actually break down the plastic little bit so that the food mixes with the plastic. And a good example of this of this is if you are heating up, for example, some spaghetti sauce in a lower quality Tupperware container, or a plastic container, you can see after the microwaving that the container is a little bit orange or reddish, and you can’t wash it out.

And that is because the plastic has quite literally mixed with the food. So you’ve got to ask the question, well, if the plastic is mixing with the food, then what’s happening with the food, the food is mixing with the plastic. So some of that chemical of the plastic is going right into the food when you microwave it.

So but you know if that doesn’t give our listeners pause, I don’t know what will because you literally millions, 10s of millions, billions of people are using microwaves every day, and creating kind of a plastic stew in which they’re ingesting more and more plastics into their body. And that is shocking. So you’re listening tonight and heal America.

I’ve got Jay Sinha who is the co founder of Life Without Plastic. We’re gonna be right back after the break with Jay to talk more about plastics, and what we can do to avoid them in our last.

You’re listening to Unite and Heal America, this is Matt Matern your host, and I’ve got Jason Sinha. Co-Founder of Life Without Plastics on the show. Jay, we were just talking about kind of the microwaving of plastics and how they gets into your food. And I guess one question I have is, let’s back up and say what are plastics? And how are they made? And maybe talk about their lifecycle a bit?

Sure, Matt. Yeah, no, it’s a great question, because I think a lot of people are under the impression that plastic is a relatively new thing. And it isn’t that plastics have developed since around the 50s more common consumer plastics, but the raw materials that are used to make plastics go back literally hundreds of millions of years, because plastics are made from fossil fuels. So petroleum, natural gas, coal, and these fossil fuels are the result of pressure and heat in the earth transforming organic matter over many many years.

So, when you have these fossil fuels that are going back such a long time and then they have to be extracted. So, you know taken out of the earth and then purified and all of these steps take massive amounts of energy. So, the idea being that yes, you have a plastic product, but in that product, it has a whole life before it which is massively embedded with Old Energy old and new energy. So you get the extract you get it extracted out of the earth and you take it to a refinery to refine it, say if it’s petroleum or natural gas, and then you have to make it into a plastic.

So the core plastic that a lot of products derive from our small little round beads known as nurdles and those are made by a plastics factory. So the the oil has to be transported there, the natural gas made into these nurdles, they then have to be transported to another factory where you’re actually making the plastic product and the noodles are it can be actually an environmental disaster if they do get out into the environment which has happened for example containerships have in one in the Indian Ocean happened not too long ago and minerals are released and they’re very impossible to clean up.

Tiny, tiny particles but it’s done that way because it’s a very versatile form of plastic it can be used to make all kinds of products. So you get the nurdles. Then they go to a plastics factory where they’re actually made into a product say a plastic bag which is ethylene gas being used on the nurdles and stretching it out into the bags.

So you have the plastic bags those may be actually made were made in China the nurdles might have been transported there or to another East Asian country, but the bag will then be used in the US so it has to be transported to the US on a container ship much more energy there it comes to the US to a port it has to go to the actual retail outlet by truck or plane more energy there.

So it gets to the actual say grocery store and you have a plastic bag which has this whole life before it I’ve embedded energy person receives that plastic bag uses it for their groceries and on average. Do you have any idea about how long the plastic bag is used?

I don’t know I guess five minutes 10 minutes, half an hour. Good guess 12 minutes globally. It’s about 12 minutes. So you have this plastic bag which has this massive energy footprint before it being used for 10 minutes and then In generally being discarded, there are other options, it could be recycled little plastic bags or minimally recycled it or it could be reused made into something else that too is a very small amount of plastic bags that are out there.

So a lot of it is ending up as waste or pollution. And that’s where you get to see a bit of the whole lifecycle going from from the actual raw material to the actual final, final waste product. And it’s a very linear cycle generally.

Well, I, you know, it kind of makes the stomach turn just thinking about all the waste involved in that whole process. And it kind of makes me though, question, something that you had said earlier, which is, us making individual changes in our lives. And I’m not certainly against that. But I’ve talked to a number of people and they, they have said, that’s something that industry has kind of wanted to sell us because it puts less onus on them to make the changes or government to make the changes.

And these types of things really require a governmental change, a policy change, such as the one that you had described that occurred in Canada that banned BPA, that then shifts a whole landscape for all the companies at once, which then, of course, is a fair way to do it from a business perspective, because everybody has to conform to the same standard. What’s your thinking on that front?

I totally agree. Absolutely. I think it has to be both in terms of individual aspects, for sure. And that’s what we’ve more focused on. But absolutely, what I would describe it as I guess the more systemic approach where through through, for example, regulation, as you’ve as you’ve described, there definitely needs to be strong laws, strong policies, and we’re seeing that happening more and more around the world.

As we move more towards what you can term a circular economy as opposed to a linear economy, the linear being the take the product, that raw material, you make the product, and then it becomes waste period, a circular economy more being an idea of there being no waste, when the the raw material becomes a product, but then it goes into a cycle where it’s either really is recycled, or it’s composted, or it’s made into another product.

And so I think a really key key key element of what you’re talking about in the regulation and the new policy direction, we need to move in and it is happening, it’s been a bit more of the tradition in Europe, which is the idea of extended producer responsibility EPR, where corporations or producers of these products are more responsible for them from the start, which is a real impetus to actually design the product from the start in a more ecologically friendly way.

What EPR basically says is that the company that is producing the product is responsible for it throughout its full lifecycle. So that’s the idea of the extended responsibility. Once the product finishes its useful life, the corporation then either has to take it back or in some way, channel that into another, another use but is responsible for it through that lifecycle. So it doesn’t become the responsibility of the consumer, which is exactly what we see the plastics and chemical industry trying to, to make it look like mess.

You know, you see that in the whole recycling thing as well, where so much emphasis is put on recycling the individuals who recycle it, recycling is really not the solution. It’s such a minimal impact on, on on the amount of plastic pollution out there. And even like recycling, as well, you have to understand is very much economically driven.

The only plastics that really are recycled are the only ones are the ones that have any really economic value. And those are certainly not the ones that are the most dangerous, even in common single use disposable plastics, a good example of being polystyrene, which is one of the more unstable and more dangerous plastics, it’s really not recycled much at all, because there’s just no economic value to do it. So the the infrastructure is not there.

So and in terms of the plastics that are recycled, the more more stable stronger ones, you’re only getting maximum about 30%. Globally, plastic recycling is at about 9%. So yeah, I totally agree. There needs to be large scale regulatory solutions as well that that affect everyone across the board, in particular, the producers of the plastics and these plastic products.

Are you familiar with the law that has been I believe, I believe enacted it or certainly, I believe it’s to the governor’s desk here in California regarding plastic recycling and SB 54.

Yes.

Right. And what’s your take on that one?

I think it’s a start. But no, it definitely does not go far enough. I think there’s some real loopholes in it that are that are problematic. Some of which include, from what I’ve read so far, there are loopholes for continued plastic use in production. But as you know, I just explained the problem with recycling and that the this act is really built on an infrastructure on the foundation of plastic recycling, which is really proven to be unsuccessful.

It also, the bill does not explicitly prohibit plastic burning, so incineration of plastic can still occur. And that can be counted as recycling under the Act, which is really kind of insidious. It’s a I mentioned polystyrene, the act is not banned polystyrene, a even though it can’t really be recycled. It, it gives, it almost looks like the bill was started out well, but then was highly impacted by an industry lobby, which helped to shape it in this direction, which waters it down quite a bit, because it gives a lot of authority to packaging companies to self regulate.

So I think it’s important to good start, but it needs amendments to be really effective, and to have a real long term effect.

Well, they’re talking about are one of the reasons why an industry came to the table and did anything was that there was a potential proposition that was going to go on the ballot, that would have been even a stronger wedges, you know, stronger law, limiting the use of plastic. So you’ve familiar with that proposition? And I’m sorry? No, okay. Well, I think they kind of took it off the table as a negotiating. You know, part of the negotiations, they said,

Well, if you guys would agree to this, SB 54, we won’t do the proposition. So anyway, that’s something we have to consider to go back to because as what you’re saying that this was maybe a step in the right direction, but it certainly doesn’t go far enough.

So you’re listening to Unite and Heal America and our guest is Jay Sinha, co-founder of Life Without Plastic and we will be back in just one minute to talk to Jay about how we can actually make this a reality Life Without Plastic.

As you may know, your host Matt Matern of Unite and Heal America is also the founder of Matern Law Group, their team of experienced employment, consumer and environmental attorneys are dedicated to leveling the playing field by giving everyone access to the highest quality legal representation contact 844 MLG for you, that’s 844 MLG for you, or 8446544968446544968.

You are listening to Unite and Heal America. This is Matt Matern, your host, and I got Jay Sinha, co- founder of Life Without Plastic. And, Jay, before the break, we’re talking about recycling and how you believe that it’s not kind of the answer. Maybe we could drill down on that a little bit and say, Well, why not? And one specific question is, what’s the significance of the number on the bottom of a lot of plastic containers?

I see it one through eight, and they’re labeled. How I assume that’s different grades of recyclability. How did SB 54 affect that? And how do you see recycling moving forward? Are there changes that we can make that would make recycling more effective?

Great, great question. Matt. There’s a lot in there. Yeah. Okay, well, so first on those those codes. SB 54, doesn’t really affect the code what those codes are, they’re called resident identification codes. And they are it’s that’s a system that was put in place by the plastics industry to help identify specific plastic resins. So you have the codes going from one to seven and numbers one to six each identify a particular plastic resin.

So for example, one is called polyethylene tarath valet. And that’s a plastic that’s used very commonly to make plastic water bottles. And that’s one of the most recyclable plastics because it has a real economic value. There’s some Many of those bottles into mid range plastic in terms of its stability. But so you have one to six each is a different plastic resin. And then seven is like a catch all category, it’s sort of other everything else falls into that category.

So if you’d have something that’s a seven, you can’t necessarily know what type of plastic it is, unless it says on there. What the the initials of what the plastic is one example is kisi. Polycarbonate, which is also used to make water bottles. But so the codes what what I think people might misunderstand, often with these codes, as they don’t give any indication of recyclability, or safety.

All they do is identify a particular plastic resin what category it goes, and one of those those six specific resins or the seven kachel. So safety and toxicity and recyclability or do not come into those numbers at all. Now, how to make recycling better?

I think as well, let me let me ask you, let me let me ask you, though, Jay, before we move on from that, because I think that’s too, too important to kind of sachet around, which is safety and toxicity. Now, which which of these plastics on this one, this six scale are the most toxic, the most dangerous to human health?

Right? No excellent question. And I should have gone a little deeper on that. So you have one to seven and plastics. 124 and five are the safer one, three and six are the less safe, so I’ll just highlight three and six. So three is polyvinyl chloride, and six is polystyrene. Now, both of these plastics are very common in consumer products, but they’re also quite unstable.

And when I say unstable, I mean they can break down faster. For example, when their microwave when they were exposed to heat. And when they’re exposed to oily products, when they’re in the sunshine, they just break down faster. When they break down faster. That means they leach the chemicals in them faster. And both of these plastics, the fact that they are less stable, it’s an indication that they have greater quantities of plant certain plasticizers in them.

For example, PVC has a lot of what are known as satellites. And these are, it’s a plasticizing chemical, which is also a hormone disrupting or endocrine disrupting chemical. So fat plates. They have been there’s tons of research on them. Now they’ve linked the link to all kinds of different health related problems ranging from cancers to developmental problems.

And similarly, there’s the other chemical BPA, which is very commonly known, which has also been linked to various various health problems. And that’s, that’s more common in a plastic known as polycarbonate. And a key point here is that you may see plastics out there that are labeled BPA free. That does not necessarily mean they are safer. Because what has happened here when BPA has been banned in various jurisdictions, because of these health issues that have been directly linked to them through scientific research.

What the industry has done is to generally replace the BP a with another plastic chemical within the same chemical family that being the best phenol phenol, this phenol family. So it may not be BPA, but now it’s it may be DPF or bps. Some of these are what they generally have, also have hormone disrupting activity, which could be the same or in some cases, it’s actually been shown to be worse. So the fact that something is BPA free is not an indication of safety either, again, is disheartening, stomach churning, but also super important that all of us should know about.

And quite frankly, you shouldn’t there be legislation out there that labels these and gives us some sense of the toxicity levels of the plastics that we’re using. So as consumers, we could have some sense of what what we’re using and the potential effects right now it seems like unless you’ve got a degree in chemical engineering or have spent the last 20 years like you have researching these things, the rest of us are less aware than than we could be or should be.

And it takes I assume it took you a while to kind of get this well versed in in this. No efforts. Do you know of any efforts by any governments to to label them more effectively? Now of course, I’d probably be more in the camp of Have a path towards elimination of all plastics or certainly as much as we can. But maybe as an interim step, to show public awareness, hey, these things are dangerous.

Yes, no, it’s a great question. And there have been efforts to introduce stronger labeling legislation. But I know they’re the met with very strong opposition. But and I guess it gets complicated labeling from an industry standpoint, because there is much more in these plastics than just the plastic resin. Like there are a lot of additives that are in various different plastic products that you simply do not hear about. A plastic is just basically an agglomeration of all kinds of different chemicals there.

So you have the core plastic resin, okay, that’s one thing. But then you may have flame retardants, you may have other stabilizers, you may have pigments, you may have fragrances, you may have antibacterial agents, you may have Luke lubricants. All of these are different chemicals that can be literally hundreds of these additives.

So the average consumer has no idea what what is in those products, the average chemist has no idea because it’s simply not disclosed by the industry. It would take a very strong piece of legislation to create labeling that would allow disclosure of and that would enable and force disclosure of all of that information, because it would be a big step for industry to do that. And I’m sure there would be a lot of opposition, but it would provide transparency as to what people are actually being exposed to.

Well, it’s, it’s kind of shocking, because you think of it, these are food containers, they are leaking, they are leaching into the food products that we’re eating. And yet there’s no labeling as to what’s actually in the container, which we know as leached into food, certainly in, in, in all kinds of contexts. Are there any plastics that don’t leach into a food?

Well, that’s that’s a good question. And I don’t know of any there are certainly plastics which are much more stable, and to to heat to chemicals to oil, silicone is one example. But it’s still it still does leach over over a much longer period.

There’s some studies we highlight this in the book because silicone you see everywhere as being sort of the savior to replace plastic but it will still leach over time, especially in an atmosphere that may have oily or acidic for example, something like vinegar, over a long period of time there there are chemicals that will still come out.

There are other plastics that are less, less like stronger and less leaching as well such as like you have a plastic known as ABS which has been used for pipes in replacement as a replacement for PVC pipes, polyvinyl Turrell while vinyl chloride pipes, which, which would are not quite as stable as abs.

So, yes, there are plastics out there which are stronger, but I would personally in my experience, and from what I’ve seen, I would not be able, I would not be comfortable saying there is a plastic out there that does not Leach.

No. So tell us about your book. When did you write it and why did you write it came out in 2017. And it’s been a real labor of love for emotional Tomei, the writing of that book. It’s really a compilation of everything we’ve done over the past 15 years but what it does it’s it’s sort of two broad sections.

The first part is a deep dive into the plastics issue elements that we’ve been talking about through this interview of the health and the environmental issues. Recycling bio plastics that’s not something we’ve we’ve touched on yet but bio plastics, alternatives to plastics. And then the second section, so it talks about the issue itself, why it’s a problem.

The second section is all about solutions and how both individuals and larger entities can can go about seeking solutions to the plastic problem range.

Yep.

Jay. Yeah, we’re gonna take a break right now but we’ll be back in just one minute. You’re listening to Unite and Heal America. I’ve got Jay Sinha, co-founder of Life Without Plastic. And we’ll be right back to talk about Jane’s book and some solutions and bio plastics so stay tuned.

You’re listening to Unite and Heal America. And this is Matt Matern, your host and I’m speaking with Jay Sinha, co-founder of Life Without Plastic. Jay, we were talking about your book, maybe you can tell the audience where they can get it.

And you also talked a little bit about bio plastics, I want to hear some more about that and how it affects our hormones and endocrinology, and some of the solutions that you offer in the book and, and how we as individuals can kind of do the best we can to avoid the plastics, as well as working on the public policy.

Sure, Matt. Okay, a few questions here. We’ll start with the book. Yeah, it’s called Life Without Plastic, the same name as our company. And the subtitle is the practical step by step guide, to avoiding plastic to keep your family and the planet healthy. And it’s available pretty much anywhere, you can buy books, certainly on our website at Life Without Plastic.com.

But you can get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble aves books, it’s everywhere. And it’s also been translated into a number of languages. So it’s very available. In terms of maybe start with a little more on the hormone disrupting chemicals aspect. We had talked about for example of BPA, and I think a good way to think about why these plastics are a problem. Because of these hormone disrupting chemicals is because you can think of endocrine disruptors or hormone disruptors which these chemicals are as kind of bullies in the body.

So you have these chemicals coming out of a plastic, say, from microwave spaghetti sauce going into your body. And then you have to keep in mind as well, these are long term effects, it’s not that something’s going to happen to you right away. It’s this is long term research that’s been going on about these things. But so the chemicals get into your body and may accumulate, but over time show an effect. And what happens is they they go into your body into the bloodstream, and there are receptors on cells for particular hormones to create a certain function in your body.

So BPA, it mimics the hormone estrogen, which is a common a common hormone for all of us, especially for women and children. And if you have an endocrine disruptor, such as BPA going into the body, it may go into those cell receptor sites, which are meant for estrogen natural estrogen to create a certain effect in the body, such as a developmental effects like helping a body to grow in the right way.

But if the BPA goes in there, it will take the place of the natural estrogen and create a different effect, which is going to be generally an adverse effect. So that’s why we see these problems such as developmental problems, reproductive problems happening with with with BPA, and even cancers over time. So that gives a bit of a picture of the problem with these hormone disrupting chemicals. Now, you’d mentioned also sorry, go ahead, Matt.

Do you?

Yeah, I was just gonna say maybe you could talk a little bit about what the individuals can do, given, given this array of plastics that we all find ourselves having to deal with on a day to day basis.

Sure, yeah. So there’s lots of things you can do. I mean, we’ve always our, our focus has always been trying to use as little plastic as possible. And you’ve probably heard the basically the three R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle. I won’t talk about recycling, we’ve talked about that a lot. There’s beyond those three, there’s so many more though, and a big one is refuse.

So trying to avoid plastic as much as you can, but you can also reuse certain plastic products like plastic has a place in society, it’s it’s important for certain things, it’s just we want to avoid the dangerous ones and we don’t want them going into our body, the chemicals from them, but you can. So we don’t necessarily advocate wholescale getting rid of all of your plastics right away that could create if everybody did that a massive waste product when it’s just not necessary.

But the plastics that are stronger ones you can reuse them in various different ways. You can rethink how you use them as well. So just give you a few examples like maybe you can make your own instead of buying laundry detergents or cleaning products you can very easily make your own because they come in large plastic containers which are generally not recycled often because of the fact that they they’re their products which are more toxic and are harder to go into the recycling system.

But they you can make easily make your own cleaning products using just fork for ingredients water vinegar and baking soda and borax and the book we have a whole set of recipes that are very simple to do. Another thing is to refill like buying in bulk is a very easy The way to go about this trying to move away from buying things with plastic packaging, plastic packaging is so much at the core of the single use disposable pack plastic problem.

So if you can minimize the packaging on any food that you buy, that’s a big step forward. And one way to do that is to bring your own containers into a store that has become harder with COVID. And the pandemic, definitely, but it’s it’s turning back, coming back again, slowly. So bringing your containers, your own bags, that’s, again, I would say one of the low hanging fruit ones that’s been there for a long time.

But it’s a simple one, you can repair things so that they last whether it’s a I don’t know furniture, shoes, or bags, instead of getting used to throwing things out if it if it has a minor defect or something, repair it or, or give it to someone who will repair it and reuse it. It’s some of it is also going back in time.

Like my my mother and my father, for example, grew up on opposite sides of the world in rural environments, and they reused everything, it’s a bit of a mentality shift as well. So those are sort of some basic examples I would give.

Yeah. So also, what about synthetic plastics and what we can do to kind of have them taken off the market, if you will, through use of other products such as I’d seen it that there’s kind of vegetable based plastic cups and things like that. can those be a replacement? And are those really a better product? And then the plastic equivalent?

Yeah, no, great question. So the whole bio plastics idea, this this broad category of plastics that may not be made out of just virgin plastic, but include, such as a vegetable matter of potato starch, or corn, there’s definitely room room there for for an important replacement for plastics. The I guess what I’d say at the outset is that it has to be very sure of what it is.

And it’s a somewhat murky area stereo, still with a lot of gray area, because there are a lot of bio plastics out there, which may have a small percentage of the vegetable resin, but the rest of it is still a traditional plastic. So you’re you’re getting something which is a bit of a greenwash.

Really, what you want is something that either is 100% of vegetable resin, or is in a form that the plastic will break down with the vegetable resin completely into its basic molecules and be what we would say is 100% compostable.

So how is how is that possible? If it is truly, if these plastics involved don’t really degrade or wouldn’t degrade naturally, are there plastics out there that can can kind of be composted and, and effectively go back into nature without doing any harm?

They are there are but they require industrial composting facilities with very specific heat and moisture, humidity controlled temperature to actually break them down completely. So that it is possible with certain things. But that’s, you know, a hugely expensive process, and it’s not going to happen with most product, most consumer products.

This is why we need to be on the lookout for the real bio plastics that are actually more on the bio side and much more of the actual vegetal resin and they’re coming there, like mushrooms are a possibility. Certain silk is being used in various ways in new ways.

But certainly I’d ask the product manufacturers to kind of more effectively label this so that we know that we’re getting something that truly is compostable versus some greenwashed product. And for those of us who are consumers, it’s almost impossible to tell that. Can you think of a way to have our listeners be better educated consumers?

Yeah, well, there are compostable certifications out there. And you just want to be sure that there’s one that that the products have been vetted by a certification body that certified is it as being fully compostable? And some of the certifications indicate that it’s home compostable?

There’s one it’s a it’s a company it’s a European company, but there are lots of products that’s that are certified buyers that are sold around the world have been caught. And they actually indicate whether it’s one compostable, and that means you can break it down your own home composter.

But, Jay, we only have a less than a minute left, I wanted to see if, if there were any final points that you’d want to make about how we can live Life Without Plastics, what would be the top recommendations that you have going forward for our listeners?

Sure. Thanks, Matt. Well, I, I would say not to get discouraged by everything we’ve talked about, because we’ve talked a lot about the dark stuff into to not get intimidated and overwhelmed and start with just one thing in your life, whether it’s no longer using straws, or no longer using the microwave with plastics, just start with one thing and do what I would call a plastic a personal plastic audit. Just look around your life in your home, and notice the plastics that are in your life.

And then if there’s something that’s touching food or drink, I’d start there and just try and reduce it in a very piecemeal fashion, one little thing at a time, bit by bit, just don’t feel overwhelmed, because it’s not as though the plastics are going to kill you overnight. This is a long term thing, that it’s just we don’t want these chemicals in our body over the long term. So looking at it in a realistic way.

Well, I appreciate that, Jay, it’s been a pleasure having you on the show. And I would add to it that we should also be in touch with our representatives and in the government, both federal, state and local to, to ban plastics where we can I know the city of Manhattan Beach banned the use of plastic bags, at grocery stores and other stores.

And while I mean, the city still works, you know, so it is possible to do these things. And I think we should be talking to our representatives to to push forward those types of changes so that we can actually live Life Without Plastic.

So you’ve been listening to unite to heal America. This is Matt Matern, your host and I had Jay Sinha on the program, co-founder of Life Without Plastics. Jay, thank you again for being on the show with us.

Thank you, Matt. It’s been an absolute pleasure and privilege.

As you may know, your host Matt Matern of United heal America is also the founder of Matern Law Group, their team of experienced employment consumer and environmental attorneys are dedicated to leveling the playing field by giving everyone access to the highest quality legal representation contact 844 MLG for you, that’s 844 MLG for you or 8446544968446544968.

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