I certainly support thoughtful progress toward reducing the overflow of Styrofoam (and other “disposable” plastics) in our community — as raised by Oak Park Trustee Ravi Parakkat in the recent Wednesday Journal One View, “Important steps forward on local sustainability” [Viewpoints, June 27]. In the meantime, I suggest our village governments encourage all of us to do our individual parts to reduce our collective plastic footprint.

It can be as simple as my switch to the metal hot and cold beverage cups with metal straws I nowadays carry with me everywhere, which have proven to be endlessly re-usable and offer a partial alternative to plastic and land-fill consumerism.

However, I confess I made this switch for a more personal reason: in the midst of three cancer diagnoses, my nutritionist strongly exhorted me to avoid eating anything heated in plastic because of an increased cancer risk when my half-of-a-liver and other organs must work overtime to filter out BPA or microscopic plastic potentially released by the heat.

While he indicated refrigerating leftovers in reusable plastic containers is safe enough, I now transfer the food to glass dishes before microwaving and I have almost eliminated the use of plastic wrap.

But what shocked me into action was when he specifically mentioned that the plastic bottled soft drinks and water — when on pallets in transit via truck or train — were likely exposed to temperatures over 100 degrees. So I fill my own reusable cup with much healthier options. Not dramatic changes, I just have to be intentional.

We as a community can easily take such small steps toward a healthier diet and cleaner environment — by filtering our own water, refusing plastic straws and styro-containers in restaurants, buying single-serving drinks in metal or glass (even paper) containers, and choosing the non-plastic packaging option whenever possible. I encourage our many thousands of citizens, during this “Plastic-Free July,” to begin the “important steps forward” with a few easy changes completely in our control.

David Loofbourrow
River Forest

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