THE STORY OF LIFE WITHOUT PLASTIC
This is a story about people and nature. It is about how plastic has caused deep problems for both since it's arrival in the 1940s. It is also about the power of LIGHT.
On a frigid, snowy January night in 2003 a little boy was born in a cozy apartment filled with love and warmth. That boy, our son, is the bright ray of light who, in many ways, brought Life Without Plastic into this world with him. Doing research while pregnant, we began to see disturbing studies and articles showing how chemicals leaching out of plastics had the potential to cause problems for living beings, especially vulnerable little ones whose systems are in development...
Before his birth, we were fed up with drinking out of plastic bottles, especially single-use ones. We tended to use them over and over, thinking we were being eco-aware and health conscious, though the leaching from the bottles would increase with each use and wash - and single-use plastic bottles, most of which end up in landfills or as plastic pollution around the world, are simply one of the worst things the environment has ever had to deal with. We looked all over for a stainless steel water bottle, and found just one possibility: a small California-based coop (today known as Klean Kanteen). We ordered a bottle, tried it out, liked it...
When our son was born, Chantal breastfed him, but there were times when we needed to store milk. We couldn't bear the thought of storing that antibody-rich, life-giving nectar in plastic bottles that would have to be boiled to be sterilized (! - think mega leaching potential). So we looked all over for glass baby bottles. Again, one possibility. Evenflo, based in Ohio, was still making them. We contacted them to order some. No problem, but the minimum order was 1000! They only did wholesale...
For a couple of years, we devoted our free time to our son. We were also healing because we had become sick and chemically sensitive after having lived and worked in some mouldy buildings - fortunately this occurred before our son was born, but the effect on our health took time to manifest. So we spent a couple of years daydreaming about how to make a contribution to reducing the large quantities of plastic that are consumed every second of every day around the world. We played with numerous ideas for raising awareness about the issue. We wanted to address the environmental disaster that the consumption of plastic is causing, and the damage that leaching plastic can cause to human and animal health. We quickly realized - based on our own experience and lightbulb moments - that before we could effectively help people reduce their plastic consumption, we had to be able to point them toward non-plastic alternatives that could replace the plastic items currently used in day-to-day life...
In 2006, disillusioned with government jobs that were not feeding our souls, we took the plunge and launched Life Without Plastic with glass and stainless steel bottles and our first stainless food containers. At that time, there were still very few alternatives to plastic in the North American market, especially for food and drink containers.
Then in 2007, things took off when the media focused its attention on the problem of bisphenol A (BPA), spurred on by relentless reporting and research on BPA by the visionary environmental organization Environmental Defence. Suddenly, people wanted alternatives to their plastic baby and water bottles and they wanted them yesterday. Canada took the bold step of banning BPA in baby bottles and the lining of baby formula containers. This has led to BPA bans coming into force all over the world.
So we have our radiant son to thank for helping us begin this journey into Life Without Plastic, and for holding our hand through the process. And he continues to do so now in 2014.
There are now many more alternatives to plastic products available. This thanks to a growing awareness of the problems associated with plastics. Witness, for example, the tremendous media attention on BPA over the past few years.
Yet, one thing we are noticing is that the quality of these alternatives varies significantly.
There are some wonderful new products created with a real concern for quality, health, the environment, and worker conditions. As well, there are other products out there that are unsafe and unethically manufactured.
For example, not all stainless steel is created equal, and as with many things, price is often an indicator of quality. One cannot expect ethical sourcing and quality control measures to be in place for dollar store dishes. Where a product is made can also provide clues about its quality. That is why we indicate the country of origin - as well as all ingredients - in the description of every single product we sell.
So beware of greenwashing! It may look green, but that doesn't mean it's clean!
We are activists for a plastic-free planet working hard to bring you safe, high quality, ethically-sourced, Earth friendly alternatives to plastic products.
We are also committed to raising awareness about plastics issues by providing solid science- and experience-based information and showing people, one person at a time, the beauty and simplicity of a life without plastic.
Chantal & Jay
Co-Founders & Co-Owners
(Meet the whole Life Without Plastic Team)
Chantal Plamondon grew up in Ste-Thérèse, Québec, Canada. Her background is in law, business ethics and management. She is also an ethical sourcing consultant at Imaginethix. She is proud of her native Wendat (Huron) heritage, which came from her mother and which inspires her to live in harmony with all other beings who share this planet. You can follow her on twitter: @chantal_lwp
Jay Sinha grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (where, as they say, it's cold in winter but it's a "dry and sunny" cold). His background is in biochemistry, law, ecotoxicology and environmental research. He believes that happiness is a core element of human existence. For him, being happy involves being healthy and wholeheartedly embracing the natural environment we all share. And laughing a lot. You can follow him on twitter: @jaywoutplastic
Their love of plastic brought them together (just kidding). They met at university, where she helped teach him French and he helped teach her English.