The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 11, 2014

Why You Should Sign My Petition — Even If You Don’t Own a Vita-Mix Blender

wpid-Vitamix-Bring-Back-Stainless-Steel.jpg.pagespeed.ce_.g_sKtkQoa6.jpgIf you haven’t yet signed and shared the Vitamix petition I created and blogged about last October because you don’t own one of these high speed blenders and don’t plan to buy one, here are a few reasons to sign and share it anyway.

I myself don’t own a Vita-Mix.  As I gushed last September, I’m in love with my Waring Pro with its all glass and metal pitcher.  My blender may not be as fast, but it gets the job done without adding toxic chemicals to my smoothies.  So you would think I wouldn’t care about what material Vita-Mix’s pitcher is made from.  But the fact is, we are all affected by plastics on this planet, whether directly or indirectly.  This point was driven whom a few weeks ago during a week-long meditation retreat on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Plastic in Paradise

wpid-20140323_122708.jpgThe Hui Ho’olana is a retreat center located in the center of the center of the center: the very center of Molokai, which is in the center of the Hawaiian Island chain, which is in the center of the Pacific Ocean.  It’s beautiful and lush, as you would expect, and the residents and owners of the retreat center are committed to protecting the land and restoring its native vegetation.  Meals are prepared with fresh ingredients from the organic garden, and the buildings are furnished with lots of natural materials. 

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I didn’t see any plastic trash.  And yet, when I asked to use a blender to make my daily smoothie, I discovered that the staff, like so many other health conscious people, had purchased and were using a high speed Vita-Mix blender with a plastic pitcher.  So each morning that week, I blended up my smoothie in a plastic container.  I was affected by Vita-Mix’s plastic blender without ever having purchased one!

Vitamix-in-Hawaii-edited-croppedAnd then I thought about all the food that is prepared in restaurants using high speed blenders.  If you eat out, you are affected by the chemicals in these blenders — which include not only Vita-Mix but Blendtec and Ninja, and the rest.  And if we can get these blender makers, starting with Vita-Mix, to at least offer a stainless steel alternative, we will be taking one small step towards reversing the trend of companies converting more and more of their appliances to plastic.

Mother Jones Wrote About It Last Month!

Did you see the article about plastic in the current issue of Mother Jones?  No, it wasn’t specifically about my petition but about Eastman Tritan, the type of plastic that Vita-Mix blender pitchers are made from, and the fact that it has shown similar hormone-disrupting properties to Bisphenol-A.  Read “The Scary New Evidence on BPA-free Plastics.”  You will be shocked at how the Eastman Company has tried to dissuade its customers from running independent tests of this new plastic.

In early 2010, Philips Avent, a top producer of baby bottles and sippy cups, inquired about having an outside lab run testing on Tritan. Eastman’s senior chemist Emmett O’Brien fired off an email to colleagues, saying, “We need to [do] everything possible to convince the customer NOT to do EA [estrogenic activity] testing.” Philips was persuaded. But, according to testimony from Eastman executives, that same year Nestlé vetted Tritan, and found it leached synthetic estrogen…. Nestlé has nevertheless continued using Tritan in some of its water bottles.

I’ve been saying this for the past 3 years!  Here’s my 2011 blog post explaining why BPA-free plastic is not necessarily safe.  We need companies to stop jumping from one type of plastic to the next and return to materials that we know are safe.

Click here for more information about the Vita-Mix petition, including why I chose to target this one company first, why I am asking for stainless steel instead of glass, and what else you can do to promote the campaign.  Please sign and share. We’re all in this together.  One person’s choices can affect all of us.

 

30 comments
marionjoe
marionjoe

hello beth

like you i have made the change from plastic to minimal - nil plastic.

thank you for your dedication.

i signed the petition.

marion

silvercamper
silvercamper

Signed. Keep up the good work. silvercamper

Mycosys
Mycosys

Just had a thought. Given how little time stuff is in a blender and the minimal chance for leaching as heat tends not to be involved, would REDUCING the amount of polycarbonate be satisfactory? using polycarbonate only in the bottom section where the high impact is likely to damage almost anything else (even most metals) and using glass or another plastic for the other 3/4+ of the jug, reducing your exposure by 80%+?
There are not all that many materials that can take the sort of repeated impact and deformation that polycarbonate can without significant reduction of lifetime (hence your difficulty in finding a high speed blender that doesnt use it).
Short of this I cant see a solution other than a metal impact zone at the bottom of the jug which is regularly replaced to avoid metal fatigue causing premature failure and abrasion damage making it impossible to effectively clean?

Would either of those approaches satisfy you?

Mycosys
Mycosys

So you care about dubious claims of damage from endocrine disruption which have been utterly discredited, but not about the massive amount more energy needed to replace these materials with higher energy alternatives.
Even though the only perceived threat was ever to babies you worry about your own health that much you would prefer to destroy the earth with your energy needs, and mine more metals, just to satisfy your paranoia? 
I am all for reducing waste, but i am also all for using plastic to reduce our energy usage and our need to mine metals and sand, and to reduce our reliance on inefficient timber (ie hemp can make both fibreboards/papers/clothing and plastics from a single plant).

I also note you know nothing about the vast varieties of plastics available ant treat them as thought they are one thing. They are not. Why not actually go to uni and study plastics if you care so much?

PlasticMinimalist
PlasticMinimalist

I signed it and shared it on our Plastic-Free Tuesday FB page. Thank you for taking the lead!

DianeWilliamson
DianeWilliamson

You make it hard for people to identify with you. The meditative peace on your Hawaii trip (do you care only about plastic--not climate change?) was blemished by having to make your daily smoothies in a blender made of plastic? Although these toxins affect everyone, you seem to be focusing a lot on yourself. 

Deb Hardy
Deb Hardy

My first thought was a vase. Or a planter for something I wouldn't be eating. Even if it just ended up in a garage or workshop holding odds and ends at least it wouldn't become waste.

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

Let's think of ways to repurpose it. I guess you'd have to remove the blade first (which is attached.) Then, use it as a vase? What else...

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

Yes, my awesome blender is glass, but it is not high speed like Vitamix. The high speed blenders have problems with glass because it can shatter.

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

Connie Curtis Might you have signed it already? If not, there is a big red Sign button on the right sidebar. Are you using a computer or a mobile device?

My Plastic-free Life
My Plastic-free Life

They were originally made from stainless steel... I don't know why they can't simply offer that option again. It would be completely safe.

mk
mk

is there any evidence that anything transfers from the vitamix plastic to the food in the very brief moments it is in the thing? This seems pretty sensationalist to me

Pippa Buxton
Pippa Buxton

Oh yes! I have a glass blender also (Kitchenaid) although it has a plastic lid which could be improved; have never understood this with Vitamix and why more health concious ppl weren't concerned about it.

Melissa Brown
Melissa Brown

According to vitamix vendors I've spoken with they are working on a glass model, but at this point if a metal utensil is dropped in it shatters the glass after a few seconds. I guess due to the high speed of the motor?

Connie Curtis
Connie Curtis

the one that she has is glass check it out in the article

Connie Curtis
Connie Curtis

I didnt see a place to sign it when i went to the petition.. no submit or anything

Debra Foster
Debra Foster

What about a glass option? I'd prefer that over stainless steel.

Deb Hardy
Deb Hardy

Remember to re-purpose that pitcher if/when you do replace it with glass/stainless steel. To just throw it out because of the health implications creates waste!

Gail Pantazopoulos Trieger
Gail Pantazopoulos Trieger

THANK YOU!!! I can't stand the plastic of my pitcher, and you've inspired us to eliminate more and more plastic. Here this is a daily use item in my home and every time I hand wash it I think "Eeew!"

You As A Machine
You As A Machine

So true Beth. Even if we think we are cutting back on the plastics that are touching our food, if we eat in restaurants we have no way of know what type of containers the food is stored in. Some restaurants have open viewing of their kitchen which is great and not so great if you have an eye for plastic detail.

Japanese restaurants usually wrap their beautiful raw fish in plastic wrap. I've watched at other restaurants whereby they use copious amounts of plastic wrap to prepare food and then toss in the garbage. There is a lot of single-use waste in the restaurant world.

sigh.

Caterina
Caterina

Hello Beth,

I am horrified to find that a Vitamix is bad for health. It is one of my most precious possessions and I saved to buy it. I certainly can't afford to replace it now and will have to keep using it, crossing my fingers, until the company brings out the stainless steel jug. I have signed your petition and added my comments.

Mycosys
Mycosys

Also worth noting that it and its analogs are fond in polycarbonate (which are used in baby bottles as it is rigid and near unbreakable) and soft PVC, not the much more common PET or PE plastics.

The MoJo 'nearly all commercial' quotes clearly only refers to polycarbonates.

Even then these endocrine disruptors are only of concern in early childhood, and then only in high doses, and have only been withdrawn due to hype.

Polycarbonate is an amazing plastic and could save your life (it is 'bulletproof glass' and is hat is used in aircraft shatterproof windows) but there are plenty of alternatives for use with food that dont require the energy or shipping mass of metals or glass

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A

This anti plastic crusade scares the hell out of me as if we ant to survive AT ALL into the future our focus needs to be on our carbon footprint, and plastics are crucial to reducing that. Polycarbonate should not be a primary use one, though, as it is not recyclable. It should be reserved for applications where it will be in use for decades and where its impact strength is essential, like in impact absorbing vehicle parts as noted.


I share your concern for our future, i just hope you can see mine. I am just as scared as you - scared that fear of science is going to destroy us all.

Mycosys
Mycosys

I find it really sad to see metal wasted on storage containers and especially drink bottles when safe PET does such a great job and is so much more durable and just as recyclable.

jonnie
jonnie

@DianeWilliamson  Clearly you haven't read through this blog, others' responses, nor the Plastic-Free Challenge! Beth has been incredibly dedicated towards helping OTHERS and OUR ENVIRONMENT to limit exposure to plastic and their toxic chemicals/pollution -through example, though suggestion, inspiration, through research and education, and through civic action. I have witnessed few others who have influenced so many, yet remained so modest and down to earth!

Before speaking, one should read, think.


BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

Hi Diane. Welcome to this site.

Your perspective is interesting. My intention in this piece is in fact to show, by personal example, how we are all affected by toxic chemicals whether we ourselves choose to purchase them or not. Perhaps I should have made clear that the retreat was in no way marred by the presence of a plastic blender, but at the same time, the irony did not escape my notice.

As an English major, I was taught to write what I know. I use my life as an example on this blog because it's the only life I'm qualified to report on. And I believe in leading by example rather than preaching. However, I do love guest posts, such as the one right before this one by a Maori woman living plastic-free in New Zealand. Hers is a perspective only she is qualified to write.

As for my carbon footprint, yes I care. And ironically, I still make the decision to fly sometimes. The more you read this blog, the more you'll see that I don't claim to be perfect... I'm not even sure what that would look like.

I hope you'll stick around. We have a great group of people here and are constantly learning and challenging ourselves.

BethTerry
BethTerry moderator

Hi mk. I don't know whether the Vitamix pitcher itself has been tested, but the plastic it's made from has been shown to have estrogenic effects. My concern is not for a few uses. I myself used one for a week during my trip. It's the repeated uses and the fact that we are all exposed to a stew of toxic chemicals everyday... from the ingredients in our personal care products to the dashboards of our cars and furniture in our homes. The Vitamix plastic is just one more source of endocrine disrupting chemicals. This petition is not demanding that Vitamix stop producing plastic blenders but asking the company to give its customers a choice. Right now, for people who want a super high speed blender, plastic is the only choice.

Mycosys
Mycosys

@Caterina  dont worry, it isnt bad for your health

Mycosys
Mycosys

I am just as terrified that anti-nuclear hysteria due to the failure of idiots to properly install and use EARLY, inefficient designs will prevent the installation of new utterly idiot proof super efficient designs that could provide us with energy for the next 500 years with the nuclear 'waste' we already have, leaving us with a waste that is only a hazard for a few hundred, not hundred thousand years - solving both global warming and the need to dispose of current waste safely in one fell swoop, giving us time to produce new, long term solutions and get them online - something which we have now left too late for any other solution.