Have you ever considered your checkbook cover? If you’re like me, you might be so accustomed to paying bills online that you don’t even remember where your checkbook is. But I’m thinking about mine today because of an article I just read in Environmental Health News. Apparently, Deluxe, the main provider of personal checks for most of America, has reached a settlement to remove a toxic phthalate called DEHP from its plastic checkbook covers by June 2015. According to the organization Healthcare Without Harm, DEHP “can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs and reproductive system — particularly the developing testes….” And the chemical is listed by the State of California as a carcinogen and male developmental toxicant.
Deluxe may be reformulating its covers, but who knows what chemical they will substitute for DEHP. And the covers are still non-biodegradable plastic. So I called Deluxe today to find out how a customer could opt out of receiving a checkbook cover with their check order. The customer service rep I spoke with said that if you open your new account at the bank, you can ask your banker to request no checkbook cover when placing your initial check order. And check reorders generally don’t come with another cover. I’d love to find out if this actually works. I’m not planning on opening a new bank account any time soon, but if you are, please try this and let me know what happens.
Alternatives to plastic covers
I personally don’t need any checkbook cover because I don’t carry checks with me. But if you do, there are some cool, handmade, plastic-free alternatives. No, they’re not free like the one from Deluxe, but they look better and won’t leach toxic chemicals.
Search “checkbook cover” on Etsy, for example, for a handmade version. Note that Etsy offers both vinyl (PVC, plastic, phthalates) covers and ones made from natural fibers, so check descriptions carefully. Or try a Google search. After an obsessive little Google session this afternoon, I found my favorite: a simple hemp design from Artisan Gear. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t actually need this!
Or, if you’re crafty, consider making your own. Here is a list of DIY checkbook cover tutorials. Who knew there were so many?
After all these years of avoiding plastic in my life, I still get surprised. I wasn’t planning on writing about checkbook covers when I woke up this morning!