This whole chapter really starts back in December of 2018, when I stumbled across a disturbing article declaring that recent studies had detected micro-plastics in human faeces (sorry for that mental image...) It was definitely a confronting moment... As I looked around our house, plastic everywhere, I realised that there was DEFINITELY micro-plastics inside of me, but goodness help me... my children still had a chance!
Although the research on the effects of plastic on the ecosystem and life is still ongoing, early indicators suggest links with multiple health issues including hormone disruptions and cancers (but that's a blog post for another day!) And so that's when the obsession began: Finding the perfect alternatives to plastic in our completely plastic (not so fantastic) life.
Studies show that although there are no definite answers as to how the micro-plastic found its way in to the human system, there seems to be two most likely causes:
1) It is inside the food we consume- particularly the fishy kind. In fact, studies predicted there to be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050. Wow.
2) Migration in to food through its packaging, our everyday dining products and throughout the cooking process.
The latter seemed the best starting point for our household. I would simply start to introduce more eco/ human-friendly options in to the kitchen. Enter bamboo and wooden cooking utensils, stainless steel storage containers and the start of a long and futile hunt for dinnerware that would be suitable for my two little bears. Boy terrors aged 3 and 1.
Now, you might think these products are everywhere, just 'add to cart'! But I had a dilemma. Whilst I wanted to minimise the plastics migrating in to my little one's bods it became clear that most of the products were actually still containing a percentage of plastic, sometimes as much as 30-50%!
I was ready to give up. I would have to resolve to ceramics- of which my little terrors were already breaking their way through half the set.
One evening, my husband walked through the door to my despair
"I have spent weeks trying to find something for the boys- it doesn't exist... it's a [insert expletive] unicorn!".
He just looked at me and said without a skip "You should make it yourself".
Well... huh... Sounded simple enough!
With naive enthusiasm I decided to follow my husband's advice and then began my next obsession- finding someone who can make this unicorn product! I must have sent out hundreds of emails to manufacturers, all declaring their products to be exactly what I needed. But every time I was met with one standard response:
"Hello, Yes we must admit our products do actually contain >30% plastic as a binder"
Fast forward many many weeks and many many dud enquiries until the response that I had been waiting for landed in my inbox...
Yes, they said, they could do it.
I couldn't help but feel skeptical...
After many email exchanges, late nights analysing test reports, the delivery of samples and even an evening spent deciphering international patent sites- I was finally satisfied.
I had found my unicorn!
I could not be more proud to say that all of my research and persistence will now benefit not only my own family, but hopefully others. This project truly has been and will continue to be a labour of (obsessive) love! 💚