In the early years of microwave ovens, when I still lived at home with my parents, there was the adage of ‘don’t cover your food with cling film in the microwave, it will give you cancer.’ Whether the whole truth or not, a lot of people remain instinctively mistrustful of single use plastics, whether out of concern for personal individual health or environmental health. I for one choose not to use cling film. I have not used it for many years and never have it in the house. I prefer to find other ways of wrapping and storing my food. There is enough evidence to conclude that single use plastics ultimately do our health no favours, and it cannot be argued that it is wreaking havoc upon our natural environment as we speak. They remain however, a cheap and convenient kitchen and pantry aid. It is this convenience that attracts us, and keeps us coming back for more. October is breast cancer awareness month in South Africa. And while thankfully it has not affected me personally, I know plenty of women (it can affect men too), including a sibling, who are breast cancer survivors.
I love the sense of solidarity of this movement, the way that it creates a platform for a critical issue: ‘a nationwide drive by public and private healthcare structures to raise awareness of this debilitating disease across all races and class structures.’ To align with this important issue during October, the public is asked to buy the pink punnets of mushrooms from one of our large food retail stores in support of a breast prothesis project run by Reach for Recovery (RFR). RFR is an organisation which does excellent work in offering support to breast cancer survivors.
Looking at these pink punnets, I can’t help thinking that some nice simple brown paper, with some coloured jute or hessian to tie the bag and keep the contents safe, would look far nicer than the gaudy pink Styrofoam containers, the mushrooms squeezed uncomfortably tight with cling wrap, shining under the fluorescent lights of the cold food section. Or to keep things Pink, how about a natural dye such as beetroot? I have used beetroot as a dye on fabric successfully (as well as other natural substances such as coffee and turmeric) and it comes up beautifully pink. A simple brown paper bag is far closer to nature, and by association closer to our human bodies than a petrochemical based plastic could ever be, and therefor just kinder and more forgiving, not to mention nicer to look at (IMO).
Having done some reading on the subject on plastics and its link with illness in humans, it seems the jury is still out as to whether certain disposable plastics unequivocally Do or Do Not lead to cancer and other illnesses. Am I being unkind to clingfilm? I don’t know. But I think maybe it’s time for a change. Time to move on to something more ‘wholesome’ looking, something that carries a better message of keeping it simple and natural and kind. Brown paper wrapping is not cancer forming. I think that fact has been established beyond doubt.
A two year old article here, offers more insight into the effects of Styrofoam on environmental and human health. ♥