Food

Why Starting a Community Garden is Worth It

And a step by step guide on how to start one

Have you ever been walking in a neighborhood and seen a beautiful community garden growing lots of vegetables, fresh herbs, and brightly colored flowers? Are you jealous that your neighborhood doesn't have a garden like that? Luckily for you, we have created a guide on how to start a community garden in your own neighborhood! There can be some tricky aspects to building a community garden like knowing how to get permits or what kind of fencing or soil to use, but with the right team, determination, and this step by step guide, you can make it happen!

What is a community garden?

Community gardens come in a variety of forms and choosing which type of community garden you will be starting is the first step. The different types of community gardens are plot gardens, cooperative gardens, youth gardens, entrepreneurial gardens, and therapeutic gardens. Plot gardens subdivide different plots within the garden and rent the plots out to families who may not have the space in their own yard. Cooperative gardens are where the entire garden is managed as one large garden by many community members. Often these gardens donate their food to local shelters or food banks, but they can also provide food for the community members running the garden. Youth gardens, often used by schools, are where kids get to learn all about the environment and nutrition through the process of growing and sometimes cooking their own food (8). Entrepreneurial gardens are where the gardeners, young or old, learn business principles and gardening, by growing and selling the produce to farmers markets and restaurants. Lastly, therapeutic gardens use gardening and the plants to improve the physical, mental, and spiritual well being of the gardeners (9).

Any group or organization can start and run a community garden. Many schools, churches, non-profits, local governments, and even individual people have started community gardens for different reasons, meaning you have the ability to develop one too!

What are the benefits of a community garden?

Community gardens have been implemented all around the world for the different benefits they provide. They are famous for improving the health of communities, improving mental health, regenerating land, educating individuals on the environment, and bringing communities closer together.

Health Benefits- The lack of access to fresh produce can lead to numerous illnesses and chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer (10). In order to combat these health concerns, many communities have implemented community gardens to increase the availability of nutritious fresh produce as well as offer it to the community at a more affordable price. Many studies have shown that community gardens have the ability to increase fruit and vegetable intake as well as reduce an individual's BMI (11).

Many studies have also highlighted the beneficial mental health effects of green spaces and gardening with others. Working in a garden for a period of a few weeks has been shown to drastically reduce individuals perceived stress levels as well as an actual reduction in their stress hormone levels (13). Using nature and gardening as therapy allowed for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress to recuperate and improve their mental health and wellbeing (12). We all know that getting outside makes you feel better, but it's actually been scientifically proven!

Community Benefits- Don't worry the benefits don't stop there! Community gardens are a great way to improve health, but they are also great for bringing people and the community together. People can meet their neighbors, make friends, and learn how to garden together, allowing the community to bond over growing food or bettering their neighborhood. These gardens can give people a social outlet outside of their home and work that so many people desire, letting them connect over nature, food, and their neighborhood (13). Developing and working in a community garden can also increase people's sense of pride for their community and neighborhood and it can push them to get more involved with other aspects and institutions in the community making a positive impact (14).

Benefits for the environment

Other than the tremendous benefits community gardens provide to people, they also have a positive effect on the environment. First off, gardening is a great way to teach people more about the environment and what it takes to have healthy plants and soil. For individuals with limited gardening experience and nature access, participating in a community garden could give them a new perspective on the food growing process (13). Plus it's also a great outdoor activity for kids to teach them all about growing their own food! When more people learn about the environment, the more people there are to protect it.

The other benefit to the environment is land regeneration. A lot of urban land is heavily polluted with chemicals and heavy metals from car exhaust, construction debris, trash, and air pollution. These chemicals reduce the fertility of the soil rendering it useless and toxic to organisms, wasting soil that is a precious finite resource. Instead of just letting the land degrade further or allowing more harmful development, community gardens can be placed on that land and add nature back into it. By adding native plants you don't plan to eat in the soil you are improving the soil quality, but also increasing the amount of carbon dioxide the soil can capture, reducing the amount in our atmosphere (15). So instead of just waiting for another chain store or unhealthy restaurant to be built on that empty plot, use that space for your garden, adding nature and ecosystem services to your neighborhood (1).

Steps to starting your garden

1. Build a team

Building a team is one of the most important steps in starting a community garden because you are going to need people to help you advocate for the project as well as design and build the garden. You want to assemble a diverse group of people that have an array of talents that can assist you through all of the steps. Gardeners, landscapers, construction workers, doctors, and really anyone in your community that wants to join will be of service. Use apps like Facebook or Nextdoor, along with flyers and letters to help spread the word about your project and that you are looking for people to help.

2. Pick a location

Picking the right location for your garden can be tricky but it's very important! You want to pick a spot that gets at least 6 hours of full sunlight, doesn't have too much traffic nearby, has good drainage, and has an available water source you can use for watering and washing your plants. Another thing to consider is how the land was used prior to your garden because it may indicate if there are any heavy metals or other contaminants in the soil. Consider buying a soil test at your local hardware store and checking for soil contaminants like lead, arsenic, and mercury. If you find that your soil is contaminated, you will have to bring in fresh soil in raised beds so your fruits and vegetables don't become contaminated as well. Once you have found a spot, you want to track down the owner and see if they will lease it to you, but don't forget to check the zoning laws prior to leasing! If you are having trouble finding the owner or getting in contact with them, call your local government and see if they can help. Your local government can also help you find a specific location to use if you are having trouble and they may even be willing to partner with you and donate the land or provide some maintenance.

3. Getting funding

Starting a community garden is very rewarding, but it is not without expenses. Some of the costs include leasing the land, getting materials like garden beds, fencing, gardening tools, irrigation, soil, compost, and seeds, and then there are costs for insurance, and maintenance. There are a lot of estimates out there on how much starting a community garden can cost with the lower estimate being at about $2,000 and the higher estimate at around $10,000 (6,7). The overall cost really depends on how much of the work you and your team do by yourselves versus hiring outside contractors and gardeners, which will drastically increase the cost.

The best ways to obtain initial funding is through sponsors, donations, and grants. Churches, schools, citizens groups, private businesses, local parks and recreation departments are all great potential sponsors and donors! Another great option is being funded by foundation grants. The American Public Gardens Association has a great resource page of the different grant programs that are available. And if you end up having trouble obtaining funding from sponsors or grants, you could try different fundraising events in your community or ask for donations from your planning team to help you get started.

During this stage you should also determine if you are going to charge fees to use and work in the garden. For most community garden types fees are definitely not necessary but if you are worried about finances and maintenance later on it may be something to consider.

4. Prep and develop the site

Once your lease starts, first things first, you need to clean your site of any litter or debris from the previous uses. Once it is all clean and you have a blank canvas, work with your team to design a layout for the garden, keeping in mind sun and shade patterns for optimal growing. In your design make sure to include where you are getting your water from and how it will reach all of the different areas. You also want to set aside a few sections for a composting area, a storage area for tools, and if you have the space maybe a few tables for people to sit at and take breaks. After the layout is set, it's time to start building! If you need extra volunteers at the beginning stages of the building and developing phase check with local schools, universities, churches, and youth organizations to see if anyone is willing to help out!

5. Create community garden guidelines

Creating community guidelines allows you to make sure everyone who works in the garden is on the same page about how to run the garden, take care of the plants, and general do's and don'ts. This is also a great time to decide whether or not the garden will be organic. It's important to make this known to every volunteer so no one sprays any of the plants or uses any materials that do not qualify as organic.

Some guidelines could include: putting all of the tools and materials away before leaving, being respectful to everyone working, don't take food without permission, don't plant personal plants without permission, a list of things to not add to the compost, and anything else you want to add to make your garden a successful and welcoming environment. Check out this link for some more examples!

6. Final steps

The bulk of the planning is done and now all that's left is to start planting and recruit more members to the garden. To really kick off the opening of the garden, have a celebration like a barbeque or potluck to highlight all of the hard work you and your team have put in and show off your beautiful garden!


Starting and organizing a community garden is going to be a lot of hard work, but it will also be very rewarding and allow you to connect with your community on a deeper level. You have the opportunity to bring fresh fruits and vegetables into your community, teach others how to garden, and create a beautiful space for others to admire and use. Instead of letting another chain store come into your community, take that space back and use it for good!


Sources

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1353829200000137?casa_token=4JIdEvYYuYkAAAAA:uWNmgSXLTu7tweuBoDQNWoXpwP_5B_j9RtamlE4knf17boviz07WUKlNaxLkkfjo4OWLa-c
  2. https://www.seewhatgrows.org/start-community-garden-neighborhood/
  3. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/kindergarden/CHILD/COM/COMMUN.HTM
  4. https://www.brunswickcompanies.com/commercial-insurance/community-garden-insurance/
  5. https://blog.ioby.org/how-to-turn-a-vacant-lot-into-a-community-garden-a-primer/
  6. https://howtostartanllc.com/business-ideas/community-garden#:~:text=A%20community%20garden's%20startup%20costs,cost%20as%20much%20as%20%2430%2C000.
  7. https://www.seewhatgrows.org/3607-2/
  8. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/how-to-organize-a-community-garden
  9. https://www.urbanharvest.org/gardens/types-of-community-gardens/
  10. Ver Ploeg, M., Breneman, V., Farrigan, T., Hamrick, K., Hopkins, D., Kaufman, P., Lin, B.-H., Nord, M., Smith, T. A., Williams, R., Kinnison, K., Olander, C., Singh, A., & Tuckermanty, E. (2009). Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food: Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress (No. 2238-2019–2924). AgEcon Search. https://doi.org/10.22004/ag.econ.292130.
  11. Kunpeuk, W., Spence, W., Phulkerd, S., Suphanchaimat, R., & Pitayarangsarit, S. (2020). The impact of gardening on nutrition and physical health outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Promotion International, 35(2), 397–408. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daz027.
  12. Vujcic, M., Tomicevic-Dubljevic, J., Grbic, M., Lecic-Tosevski, D., Vukovic, O., & Toskovic, O. (2017). Nature based solution for improving mental health and well-being in urban areas. Environmental Research, 158, 385–392. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.030
  13. Alaimo, K., Beavers, A., Crawford, C., Snyder, E., & Litt, J. (2016). Amplifying Health Through Community Gardens: A Framework for Advancing Multicomponent, Behaviorally Based Neighborhood Interventions. Current Environmental Health Reports, 3. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-016-0105-0
  14. Firth, C., Maye, D., & Pearson, D. (2011). Developing "community" in community gardens. Local Environment, 16(6), 555–568. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2011.586025
  15. Li, G., Sun, G.-X., Ren, Y., Luo, X.-S., & Zhu, Y.-G. (2018). Urban soil and human health: A review. European Journal of Soil Science, 69(1), 196–215. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.12518
Food

Summer BBQ Essentials

Don't break out the grill without these non-toxic finds!

Summer isn't complete without at least one BBQ! They're the ultimate excuse to get together with friends, enjoy the nice weather, and cook delicious food (even if you're doing meat-free Monday). If you're new to the BBQ scene, then you might not realize that an outdoor get-together can require some specialized gear. Standard BBQ gear can be made from harmful materials like melamine, plastic, and PFAS, which is why we wanted to find alternative products that were safer for our health. Our summer BBQ essentials roundup has everything you need and more to throw the best party ever! And don't forget to check out our tips for a non-toxic BBQ!


Stainless Steel Popsicle Mold

Stainless Steel Grill Basket

Glass Beverage Dispenser

Cast Iron Griddle Pan

Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan

Moscow Mule Mugs

Enamelware with seafood pattern

Grill tools

Stainless steel Citrus Press Juicer

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Roundups

Non-Toxic Personal Care Picks at Costco

The best personal care at wholesale prices!

Costco has some great hidden gems among the massive package of toilet paper and free samples. That's why we did the research and found the best non-toxic personal care items. All these items have been vetted by us and are readily available both online and in stores.

Weleda Skin food

type A deodorant

Pura D'or Organic Aloe Vera Gel

Honest Company Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo + Body Wash

eos USDA Organic Lip Balm

Pangea Organic Facial Mask- Japanese Matcha Tea, Acai, & Goji Berry

Dr. Jacobs Naturals Castile Body Wash

Roundups

9 Stainless Steel & Glass Tumblers

For iced coffee, iced tea, and smoothies on the go

Getting iced coffee in a plastic cup with a plastic straw is a lot harder to do after watching that video of a plastic straw being removed from a turtle's nose. Plus there is also that pesky condensation that creates a pool of water at the bottle of your cupholder or on your desk. So we found the 9 best reviewed stainless steel and glass tumblers, so that you can have your iced beverages in style this summer. Many of the brands have different sizes ranging from 20oz to 30oz and variety of colors. We prefer stainless steel or glass because many of the acrylic or plastic tumblers may have chemicals similar to BPA. We also link to some stainless steel straws because not all of these tumblers come with straws. And if you're like us, drinking iced coffee through a straw is just synonymous with summer.

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Life

Banish Bugs With Our Recommended Insect Repellent Ingredients

Don't be an all-you-can-eat-buffet for annoying critters again!

Summer is here! But that means so are the biting insects…. Ugh. Mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, fleas, and biting flies seem impossible to avoid when the weather heats up. They're really annoying and they can post a pretty big health risk. Mosquitoes and ticks alone can transmit some scary diseases like Zika, Lyme, malaria, encephalitis, and dengue fever. And to make matters worse, a new CDC report shows the number of mosquito and tick-borne diseases are on the rise (1). To help protect yourself against these pesky insects, we're discussing the most effective insect repellent ingredients that are EPA registered (AKA safe and effective) and CDC recommended: DEET, picardian, and oil of lemon eucalyptus.

We know what you're thinking- synthetic chemicals are recommended?! In this case, the risk of disease is a bigger environmental health threat than using these two specific synthetic chemicals. Additionally, there have also been no scientific studies that show essential oils are effective in protecting against insect bites so we can't include them in our recommendations. You can try them and maybe they'll work for you, but there's no guarantee. If you really want our one DEET alternative, non-synthetic repellent recommendation, that has a transparent list of ingredients, and is scientifically proven to keep bugs away, stay tuned!

DEET

DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) is considered to be the "gold standard" of insect repellent. It's a good choice if you're outside all day in a high-insect are because it repels the most insects, including both mosquitoes and ticks, and lasts the longest amount of time (2). When applied correctly (make sure to read the label!), there are very few negative reactions from DEET. A product with a concentration of DEET between 20-30% can provide protection from insects for most of the day (3). DEET can be used while pregnant and on children older than two months and has not been found to be carcinogenic. Although some may see dermatitis or an allergic reaction from long-term exposure to high levels of DEET (2) and oral ingestion has been shown to have neurotoxic effects like seizures (4).

Picaridin

Picaridin (icardian) is another repellent ingredient that repels ticks and mosquitoes. It's been widely used in Europe and Australia for years with positive results. A product containing at least 20% picaridin has similar short-term results as DEET, although picaridin does not provide long-lasting protection as well as DEET and has to be reapplied more often (2). Picaridin has not been studied as thoroughly as DEET, but it does not seem to have any major negative health impacts. Although uncommon it can cause skin or eye irritation, so make sure to read the directions when using a product containing picaridin (5). We've become big fans of Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Insect Repellent Mist!

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

Oil of lemon eucalyptus (P-menthane-3,8-diol) is a natural oil extracted from the lemon-scented eucalyptus plant (6). It can be an appealing ingredient to people because it's an alternative to synthetic chemicals like DEET or picaridin. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is great at repelling mosquitoes, flies and gnats, but not so great against ticks (2). Products containing at least 30% of oil of lemon eucalyptus have shown to be almost as effective as repelling mosquitoes as DEET, but it has to be applied much more frequently (6). While it is natural, it can irritate the eyes or skin and is not recommended for children under 3 (7). Just a quick note: lemon essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil are NOT the same thing as oil of lemon eucalyptus though, so make sure to look for that exact phrasing in any ingredient lists.

Since oil of lemon eucalyptus is EPA registered and a natural ingredient, we think it's a great synthetic-ingredient alternative! We love Murphy's Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Insect Repellent Spray. It uses 30% oil of lemon eucalyptus as a way to repel those annoying bugs and lists all of the ingredients (ethanol and water). It's super super hard to find a complete list of ingredients in insect repellent products, so we think this is a huge plus.

So which ingredient should I choose?

It depends! Are you in an area with a high amount of mosquitoes and ticks? Are you outdoors for the entire day or maybe just an hour? Do you want to avoid synthetic chemicals or are you okay with it? Are you traveling to a place that has a high rate of diseases like malaria or yellow fever? The EPA has a quiz you can take in order to find the best insect repellent for your needs.

We recommend to always read and completely follow the directions listed on any repellent product you use, and wash your hands after applying a repellent. Generally you want to apply repellent when you're outside while holding the product at least 6 inches away as you spray. While spraying repellent on your clothes is okay (although DEET shouldn't be sprayed on synthetic fabric), it's not a good idea to spray it under your clothes (8). Long sleeved shirts, pants, long socks, and closed toe shoes can reduce the risk of a bite because less skin is exposed.

Now that you're fully up-to-date on the best insect repellent ingredients you can go back to focusing on what really matters: barbecuing, swimming, beach trips, and all of fun activities that come with summer!


References:

1. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6717e1.htm?s_cid=mm6717e1

2. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/prevention-of-arthropod-and-insect-bites-repellents-and-other-measures

3. https://www.ewg.org/research/ewgs-guide-bug-repellents/ewg-repellent-guide

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=2506420

5. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/PicaridinGen.html

6. https://www.beyondpesticides.org/assets/media/documents/pesticides/factsheets/oillemoneucalyptus.pdf

7. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html

8. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods

Food

Canned Coffee is Convenient, But What About BPA?

Why they should be a treat instead of part of your daily routine

Now that we're all working from home, it's easy to get bored of our everyday homemade coffee routine. Sometimes we just want something different to wake us up in the morning or even a quick pick me up in the afternoon! That's where canned coffee comes into play. It's quick, convenient, and comes in a ton of flavors. But that convenience might come at a cost; there's been concerns surrounding the use of BPA in the lining of canned products. So, does canned coffee pose a risk to health? We looked at the research to find out.

The Problem With BPA in Cans

BPA, or bisphenol A, is a synthetic chemical that acts like estrogen in our bodies and it has been known to screw with important hormones like testosterone and thyroid hormones. Some of the common health problems associated with BPA include breast cancer, reduced sperm production, obesity, reproductive issues, disruption of brain development and function, and damaging effects to the liver (1). To make matters worse, there is more and more scientific evidence that even very low doses of BPA exposure can be harmful, especially for pregnant women and babies. Low doses of BPA exposure have been tied to abnormal liver function, chronic inflammation of the prostate, cysts on the thyroid and pituitary gland, and many more serious health effects during the early stages of life (5).

Even though BPA is definitely not a chemical we want to be exposed to, it's found basically everywhere, including our food. One common place to find BPA is the internal lining of canned foods or beverages. BPA can help prevent corrosion between the metal and the food or drink inside a can, but over time (or if stored under the wrong conditions like high temperatures), it can start to leach out and get into the food or drink (2). Even cans that say BPA free can have nasty BPA alternatives that have been shown to have similar hormone disrupting effects (7).

Studies have shown that canned soft drinks, beers, and energy drinks all had small traces of BPA in them. Beer was found with the highest concentration of BPA, followed by energy drinks. Soft drinks were found to have the lowest concentration of BPA. In order to find out where BPA in these drinks was coming from, researchers compared the canned drinks to the same drinks packaged in glass bottles. They found very little to no traces of BPA in the glass bottled drinks, which means that the source of BPA in the canned drinks was definitely coming from the cans themselves (2,3,4).

Even if there are only small traces of leachable BPA, it can still be harmful if we are consuming canned products on a regular basis.

Is Canned Coffee Safe?

With the recent increase in popularity of cold brew and other canned coffee drinks, there have not been extensive studies on BPA levels in canned coffee. However, one study of canned coffee drinks in Asia, where they have been popular for longer, did find that BPA was leaching into the coffee from the can. Interestingly, they also found that the more caffeine was in the coffee, the more BPA leached from the can into the drink. Meaning the more caffeine, the more BPA! (4,6) Now before you think you can get away with only drinking decaf canned coffee, keep in mind that caffeine only increases the leaching from the can, but it can still happen without it (6).

Even though the levels of BPA found in canned coffee were relatively small, because BPA is all around us in so many common products, we should try to limit our exposure as much as we can. This means that it's probably okay to drink a canned coffee every once in a while, but best practice is to not drink them every day. But if you're in the middle of a road trip and are desperate for some energy, don't get too stressed about grabbing a canned coffee!

Canned Coffee Alternatives

If you're starting to get worried about what coffee to buy when you're out and about or when you want something more than just plain coffee, don't stress! We thought of some easy and fun alternatives for your canned coffee fix that might make you forget all about it!

  1. Swap out the canned coffee for coffee in a glass bottle or tetrapaks whenever possible.
  2. Find some fun new ways to make coffee at home like using a Chemex or a nice French press!
  3. Go get a coffee at your local coffee shop. Support small businesses if you can!
  4. If you like canned coffee because of the flavors, try making your own caramel or mocha sauce at home. It's pretty easy and it saves money! For something icy and refreshing, we are partial to muddling some fresh mint with some cold brew.


References

vom Saal, F. S., & Vandenberg, L. N. (2021). Update on the Health Effects of Bisphenol A: Overwhelming Evidence of Harm. Endocrinology, 162(bqaa171). https://doi.org/10.1210/endocr/bqaa171 (1)

Cao, X.-L., Corriveau, J., & Popovic, S. (2010). Sources of Low Concentrations of Bisphenol A in Canned Beverage Products. Journal of Food Protection, 73(8), 1548–1551. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-73.8.1548 (2)

Determination of BPA, BPB, BPF, BADGE and BFDGE in canned energy drinks by molecularly imprinted polymer cleaning up and UPLC with fluorescence detection. (2017). Food Chemistry, 220, 406–412. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.10.005 (3)

Kang, J.-H., & Kondo, F. (2002). Bisphenol A migration from cans containing coffee and caffeine. Food Additives and Contaminants, 19(9), 886–890. https://doi.org/10.1080/02652030210147278 (4)

Prins, G. S., Patisaul, H. B., Belcher, S. M., & Vandenberg, L. N. (2019). CLARITY-BPA academic laboratory studies identify consistent low-dose Bisphenol A effects on multiple organ systems. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 125(S3), 14–31. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcpt.13125 (5)

Kang, J.-H., & Kondo, F. (2002). Bisphenol A migration from cans containing coffee and caffeine. Food Additives and Contaminants, 19(9), 886–890. https://doi.org/10.1080/02652030210147278 (6)

Pelch, K., Wignall, J. A., Goldstone, A. E., Ross, P. K., Blain, R. B., Shapiro, A. J., Holmgren, S. D., Hsieh, J.-H., Svoboda, D., Auerbach, S. S., Parham, F. M., Masten, S. A., Walker, V., Rooney, A., & Thayer, K. A. (2019). A scoping review of the health and toxicological activity of bisphenol A (BPA) structural analogues and functional alternatives. Toxicology, 424, 152235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tox.2019.06.006 (7)

Life

Throwing a Party with Less Plastic

A healthier way to eat cake, drink beer, and celebrate

Parties are always great. You get to see friends, have a good time, and figure out how to eat delicious food off a paper plate while not spilling whatever may be in your cup. While the chips, cake, and booze may not be the healthiest, there are other things you might not be thinking about that harm our health. The biggest offender at parties usually is all the plastic. The plastic cups, the plastic utensils, the fun table cloths with Yoda's face on them are all made of plastic.

While there are many reasons to avoid plastic - it's not good for the world, it requires oil to make, it's hard to recycle if there has been food on it - one that people often don't usually think of is that single-use plastic can affect our health, both immediately and long term. The chemicals in the plastic cups, or even used to make paper cups and plates oil and water resistant, can easily seep into food and drinks. As it does that, it gets into our bodies as we consume the fun party foods and can interfere with the ways cells communicate with our bodies. This interference has been shown in various research projects to lead to things like obesity, fertility problems, temperature disregulation, and even cancers (1).

We are never going to be completely free from plastic. It's everywhere, and for certain things, it's really convenient and necessary. But, it isn't necessary as often as we normally use it. And, one way to lower the risk of health problems and send a message to companies that create unnecessary plastic waste at the same time is to buy and use fewer plastic products or products with excessive plastic packaging.With a few simple swaps, you can make the party healthier for your guests (and yourself) by limiting the amount of plastic you use:

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