Thursday, October 13, 2011

Plastic and steel

The other day, as I threw out yet another plastic water bottle, I thought back to my school days. That time, my lunch was always packed in stainless steel tiffin dabbas. It was one big sadness(!) in my young life back then that my mom wouldn't give me lunch in a box like one of those colorful plastic dabbas that some of my other school-mates brought. Plastic boxes just seemed way cooler.

Somehow, mom never listened to my pleadings and whining and I did carry stainless steel tiffin boxes for the entire time I brought lunch from home.

It was only when I went to grad school and got to pack my own lunch that I realized that most plastic boxes (and yeah, in grad school, these were the cheap ones) had the annoying tendency to hang on to the odors of the food last packed in it. Thus, food never tasted fresh after spending a few hours in the dabba no matter how recently the food had been made prior to transferring residence to the box. Finally, the bulb began to glow - stainless steel did have its plus points!

And then, of course, came the whole influx of articles about how most plastics are so terrible for your health. And thus I began my slow transition to avoid all things plastic, at least in utensils which could come in contact with heat. First, the plastic water bottles were changed to stainless steel. Then the plastic tiffin boxes changed to ceramic and glass.

That was when it struck me: not for nothing do they say that Mother always knows best. My mom knew even before the scientific community did that there was something iffy about plastic and thus withstood all the incessant whining from her nagging child and refused to pack her lunch in plastic tiffin boxes :-).