As a pediatrician and a mom, when I found out about the harmful effects that plastic has not only on the environment but also on children’s health, I knew I had a solution- stainless steel. I, along with many Indian families, used stainless steel when growing up. However, I knew stainless steel is not a common material at the American dinner table and especially not in school cafeterias in the US. We are leaving one planet behind for our children, and plastic is proving to have detrimental effects on it- so together let’s make small changes that can have a big impact on both the health of our planet and our children! The small change I want to focus on today is ditching the plastic in your kitchen and switching to steel. Not only will this benefit the planet and your child’s health, but in the long run it is the most cost effective option.
The Plastic Problem
On average, a person consumes approximately 5 grams of plastic each week- that is approximately a credit card worth of plastic a week! This amounts to an alarming 5 billion people collectively ingesting around 25,000 metric tons of plastic every week. Visualizing this massive quantity of plastic not only emphasizes the scale of the issue but can also encourage us to prioritize mindful choices. These statistics are not meant to scare you, they just serve as a reminder that the small choices we make every day actually have an impact! So if we collectively do our best to avoid single-use plastic and switch to more sustainable materials, we can start seeing these numbers shift. By sharing this knowledge with our friends and family, we empower others to be conscious consumers, making choices that not only reduce their personal plastic footprint but contribute to a global shift towards sustainability.
I know the topic of plastic pollution can seem overwhelming, however, it provides an opportunity for positive change. The World Economic Forum's revelation that approximately 381 million metric tons of plastic are produced annually is not just a staggering statistic; it's a call for collective action. Rather than being disheartened, let's view this as an opportunity to make informed choices that contribute to a more sustainable future. Each decision, such as choosing stainless steel over plastic, becomes a step towards reducing this overwhelming statistic.
Why Switch to Steel?
The impact of plastic waste, particularly from single-use plastic dishes, has reached alarming amounts, contributing significantly to environmental degradation. Each year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans, with disposable plates, trays, and cutlery playing a significant role in this pollution. The convenience of single-use plastic dishes comes at a tremendous cost, as these items take centuries to decompose, causing long-lasting harm to ecosystems and marine life. In contrast, stainless steel emerges as a highly positive and sustainable solution to combat this plastic problem. Not only is stainless steel endlessly recyclable, with approximately 60-80% of it being recycled at the end of its life, but its durable nature also eliminates the need for constant replacement, significantly reducing the overall environmental impact. By choosing stainless steel over single-use plastic dishes, we not only break free from the cycle of disposability but also actively contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution, fostering a more sustainable and responsible approach to daily living.
Like other steel products, stainless steel is 100% recyclable. In fact, very little “new” stainless is produced today as almost all stainless steel begins its manufacturing process as scrap. It can be recycled over and over again without losing its integrity or using much energy. It is very easy logistically and cost-effective to recycle unlike plastic. That’s why less than 10% of all plastic in the world is recycled. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. It is cheaper to make new plastic than to recycle it. Plastic production is expected to triple by 2050 despite the overwhelming evidence that it is toxic to our environment and now, found to be a global threat to human health.
Choosing stainless steel dishware has a multitude of benefits that go beyond the environmental impact. Stainless steel is renowned for its resilience, with the ability to withstand wear and tear, ensuring longevity that far surpasses other materials. Beyond durability, stainless steel is a highly hygienic option, as its non-porous surface inhibits the growth of bacteria, ensuring a clean and safe dining experience. Additionally, stainless steel is free from harmful chemicals often found in plastics, providing a safe alternative for food storage and consumption. The versatility, eco-friendliness, and longevity of stainless steel dishware make it a superior choice that aligns with both sustainable living and a commitment to health and well-being.
Ahimsa Stainless Steel
Every aspect of Ahimsa’s product lifecycle is intentionally environmentally conscious. Ahimsa dishes are free from all known harmful chemicals and all products are 100% plastic free- including our packaging! We care deeply about providing the safest products possible and our testing is a big part of that mission. As a pediatrician-founded company, the health and safety of children is our top priority which is why we test our products beyond FDA regulations. We are actually the only dinnerware that is MADE SAFE certified!
Ahimsa dishes grow with your family, from baby to big kid and beyond. The notion of buying one Ahimsa set, using it for years, and passing it on for generations is not just a sustainable choice but a hopeful one. It signifies a shift towards mindful, sustainable parenting and a world where every purchase has a positive impact- buy once, buy better!
Ahimsa’s coloring process is unique and intentional. We use a layer of titanium through a method called Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). The PVD process is in a closed chamber environment without any type of run off that could impact the environment. We chose the PVD process over anodized in large part due to an anodized process involving harmful chemicals that need to be disposed of afterwards. The titanium used in PVD is inert and PVD is actually the process that is used to color surgical implants, which is where I initially got the idea!
Encouraging Your Little Ones to be Environmental Advocates
Introducing topics like plastic pollution to your children can be a rewarding and encouraging experience when approached with positivity and curiosity. Instead of focusing solely on the challenges, turn the conversation into an exploration of the incredible ways we can make a positive impact on the environment. Start by sharing fascinating facts about the natural world and its interconnected ecosystems, highlighting the role of oceans, animals, and plants.
To make the conversation engaging, consider incorporating fun activities such as watching documentaries together or embarking on nature walks. Share stories of environmental heroes who are making a difference, and encourage your children to brainstorm creative solutions to plastic pollution. By fostering a sense of curiosity and emphasizing the power they have to contribute positively, you not only educate them about the issue but also inspire a sense of responsibility and empowerment. Transforming the dialogue into an optimistic journey will likely instill a lifelong passion for environmental stewardship in your children.
By instilling a consciousness of the environmental impacts of everyday choices, we empower the next generation to make informed decisions that prioritize sustainability. Teaching kids about the benefits of using sustainable materials like stainless steel over plastic not only shapes their individual behavior but also cultivates a collective mindset that values environmental responsibility. As these children grow into leaders and decision-makers, their understanding of the impact of materials on the planet will guide them in making conscious choices that contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future. By having these encouraging conversations from a young age, we plant the seeds for a generation that embraces innovation, values longevity over disposability, and actively participates in the global movement towards a greener and healthier Earth.
Every small thing we do makes a difference. By switching to stainless steel dishes and encouraging your family and friends to as well, you are encouraging a decision that will combat the plastic problem that our world is facing and instead encourages the use of a safe, durable, and eco-friendly alternative material!