5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic Food Storage Containers

Plastic food containers are lightweight, compact, and inexpensive, but they contain toxins that can be harmful to people and the environment. Learn about the dangers of plastic and eco-friendly alternatives.

Photo: mulevich via 123RF

Plastic food containers are lightweight, compact, and inexpensive. However, some of these convenient leftover storage solutions hold toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA) that can be harmful to people, the ecosystem, and the planet – especially as the product ages or when it’s subjected to heat.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found BPA present in the urine of nearly all of 2,517 study participants ages six years and older. This startling discovery indicates widespread human exposure to BPA – a chemical that’s found to impact the reproductive systems of lab animals.

Furthermore, because plastic doesn’t break down and is rarely recycled, discarded storage containers that reach the end of their useful life cycle compound the dangerous global plastic pollution crisis.

National Geographic reports that by the year 2040, if no changes to the current rate of plastic production, use, and waste management are made, about 30 million metric tons of plastic will leak into the oceans each year. Sadly, this preventable problem already kills innocent aquatic creatures at alarming rates.

Thankfully, one easy way you can help curb harmful plastic pollution is to stop using plastic food storage containers and switch to these eco-friendly alternatives.

Glass Storage Containers

Glass is washable, reusable, and BPA-free. So, using glass leftover dishes eliminates plastic waste and harmful chemical leaks. Glass Containers with bamboo lids are fridge, freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe and are stain, odor, and leak-resistant. A neat bonus: the bamboo lids can double as a cutting board, and the versatile bowls are great for ingredient prep and storing leftovers.

Glass Mason Jars

Popular for canning vegetables and jams, you can think beyond a mason jar’s typical use to safely store cooled-down leftovers in the fridge. This long-time kitchen staple can also hold dry foods and snacks like nuts, pretzels, crackers, cereal, pasta, and more in the pantry. Many jars feature a silicone ring around a glass lid or airtight closure and come in various sizes. Mason jars are reusable and BPA-free while also being stain, odor, and leak-resistant.

Photo: larryratt via 123RF

Silicone Storage Solutions

Silicone is durable, safe, and resists melting, breaking, or cracking. Washing and reusing silicone dishes reduces the waste and harmful chemical leaking associated with lots of disposable plastic storage dishes.

Stainless Steel Food Storage

Stainless steel is lightweight like plastic but is an eco-friendlier material. It’s naturally BPA-free and doesn’t leak harmful chemicals. Stainless is also durable and unbreakable, making it easier (and less problematic) to transport than glass containers for lunches and snacks. Plus, stainless steel never rusts. Some stainless containers come in a 5-pack storage set that is 100% free of all chemical toxins, BPA, lead, leaching, PVCs, phthalates, synthetic xenoestrogens, and endocrine disruptors. Brandenburg offers many different shapes and sizes of airtight, leakproof, dishwasher, freezer, and oven-safe dishes. They’re also great for stowing non-refrigerated food in backpacks while camping or hiking.

Sustainable Food Wraps

Instead of stuffing your sandwich into a plastic container or baggie, you can use sustainable wraps like beeswax to store or protect your food. Beeswax is washable and reusable, and the plastic-free organic material stretches to fit a multitude of foods and is self-sticking to seal the contents into place.

Overall, swapping plastic leftover food containers for any of these green food storage alternatives is a simple thing you can do to help protect yourself and your family and help preserve the Earth for future generations.


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