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Coffee lovers: Learn the best ways to make coffee at home
25 October 2019

Reusable food containers: Why we can’t imagine our lives without them

see through food containers

Photo by Ella Olsson

Imagine this: it’s late at night, all the guests have left and you are feeling proud of yourself to have hosted the perfect dinner party. After spending a while preparing and cooking for your friends, looking at the leftovers piled in plates and pans just makes you feel more exhausted. We understand – cleaning up is the worst. However, instead of throwing away all the food, place the leftovers in food storage containers, and enjoy not having to cook the following day.

Five White Plates With Different Kinds of Dishes

Today, reusable food containers are considered essential to any kitchen. And they come in so many shapes, colours and materials, so you can choose from an array of options. That is why we gathered a list of the ‘must-have’ food containers, which will satisfy each of your unique needs in the kitchen.

Why are reusable food containers a ‘must’ in our kitchens?

There are so many benefits of investing in and using reusable food containers on a daily basis, not only for ourselves, but for the planet in general:

Keep your food looking good as Day 1

It has happened to all of us: cooking more than we can eat. So why throw away the leftovers, or even worse – eat all of it just to avoid food ending up in the garbage? Don’t think twice, and invest in a few reusable food containers. Just store the leftovers in the fridge, or even the freezer, and enjoy them days after they have been cooked.

Keep all the goods organised

No wonder reusable food containers are considered an essential, if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, they will become your ‘best friend’. Opt for see-through containers, or label them – the choice is yours. They are light, easy to carry and move around the kitchen, and very convenient. They come in various shapes and sizes, so you can choose them according to the size of your kitchen storage.

see through food containers
Photo by Ella Olsson

Perfect for a person with a zero-waste lifestyle

Just think about the amount of waste that is sent to the landfills or eventually ends up in the oceans on a daily basis. Plastic wraps, sandwich baggies and single-use plastic in general add unnecessary waste to the world. Reusable food containers, on the other hand, reduce the amount of waste. The word itself – reusable, suggests that the item is used more than once, which means that first of all it saves money, and at the same time it allows the product to be used to its fullest extent. So, depending on the material of the food container, they can serve you and your kitchen for a long period of time.

Why should we separate plastic from our food?

As much as we deny it, plastic is a big part of our lives, whether it’s in our kitchens, bathrooms, décor or even our clothes. What many people aren’t aware of is that plastic doesn’t only have a negative effect on our environment, but it could potentially impact our health as well.

Man-made chemicals such as BPAs and phthalates can transfer from the plastic food storage container that we use into the food they contain. Vox reported that regardless of the consistency of the food, whether it’s liquid, dairy, dry goods or even the leftovers that we bring to the office and especially if they are heated, they will absorb these chemicals from the plastic containers.

Is BPA really that bad?

There is currently no consensus in the scientific community about the harm of chemical components found in plastic such as BPAs. Some organisations such as the FDA have ruled that BPA is safe at current levels found in foods, however other scientists disagree.

The bad news is that, when in high concentrations, these chemicals can interfere and create a chaos with the hormones in our body, which can result in disturbing health effects, ranging from an increased risk of obesity and diabetes to issues with reproductive development. The slightly better news is that the amount of BPAs in your typical plastic container may not be enough to be harmful, but why would you want to risk it!

What about BPA-free plastic?

Today, even though many plastics are now BPA-free, it is unclear how safe the BPA alternatives are that have replaced BPA. Research shows that the BPA alternatives touted as “safe” could have similar health impact as the chemicals they have replaced. The study recommends avoiding BPA alternatives entirely and it suggests steering clear of plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7, which all contain them.

Isn’t getting rid of all plastic a bit extreme?

We get it, our modern world is full of plastic and we are still alive, right? While it’s not practical to completely eliminate plastic from your life, it wouldn’t hurt to use less of it! Take small steps to reduce potential risk to yourself and your loved ones and to protect our planet. This starts with saying ‘no’ to single use plastic – our planet will thank you. Then take it one step further – if you want to be on the safe side, try to reduce the amount of plastic that gets in contact with your food and drink. We use food containers on a daily basis so the most practical thing is to start from there.

tree hugger - Nature - sculpture - by Sharon Regan
Nature by Sharon Regan
Photo by William Murphy

So, should I throw out all my plastic food containers?

There is no need to sound the alarm and bin all your plastic containers. Ironically, dumping things to buy more things creates even more waste! Just be more practical and next time you want to replace your old scratched plastic lunch box or you run out of sandwich bags, think of all the non-plastic alternatives. There are so many food storage materials offered on the market, that you won’t even notice discarding plastic!

You ditched plastic food storage containers, what now?

Give yourself a tap on the shoulder, and go shopping! There is an array of food storage containers which come in different materials. Opt for stainless steel, bamboo, silicone, glass, cork and wood and you can freeze, refrigerate and microwave your food to your heart’s content!

Detox your kitchen – here are the best food storage containers that aren’t plastic!

1. Mason Jars

Once you use them, there is no going back. Mason jars work great as food storage containers, they are super practical, easy to carry around and dishwasher-safe. You can store basically everything in them, from dry goods, to all kinds of beverages or soups. And the best of all? You can also use a mason jar as a container for your favourite smoothie or serve lemonade or any other kind of beverage in it. They last forever, since the lid is made out of stainless steel, and the rest is made out of glass. This makes it recyclable as well after it serves its purpose. Besides, the lids have silicone seals which makes them airtight, i.e. they prevent air from getting in.  

Ball Mason Jar
Ball Mason Jar
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Tip: If you aren’t in the mood to pay a trip to the store for new mason jars, use leftover jars from other food. Check if there are any extra glass jars from pickles, salsa, jam or anything else that comes in a jar, wash them and voila – you have a new reusable food container!

2. Glass food storage containers

If you take good care of them, they last longer than plastic, and plus, you won’t have to worry about toxic contamination from your food getting in contact with plastic. This set of glass storage containers comes with 4 different practical sizes. Instead of a plastic lid, like most of the glass containers offered on the market, this one has a bamboo lid, which makes it completely eco-friendly. What makes this set extra practical is that you can use the lids as cutting boards for cheese, vegetables, basically everything that is beneath the lid. The only thing that the seller recommends is hand washing the lid, instead of dishwashing, but the extra effort is worth it.

Glass Food Containers with Bamboo Tops
Glass containers with bamboo tops
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3. Stainless steel containers

They are leak-proof, can last a ‘lifetime’ and are reusable – a definition for the perfect food storage container. This set of stainless steel containers comes in three different sizes. This is great because you can stack them one inside the other when you don’t use them. These containers are great for storing basically everything, and they are ideal for kids because they come with silicone lids which are soft and flexible and easy to open.

Stainless Steel Food Storage Containers with Silicone Lids
Stainless steel container
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4. Silicone Ziplock bags

These silicone baggies are microwave, freezer and dishwasher-safe, can you believe it? Perfect for packing up snacks and dry goods like dried fruit and nuts, as well as fresh fruit and veg or any food leftovers. These silicone bags are a must in your kitchen and whenever you travel. To keep your leftovers and kitchen goods organised, you can use a dry erase marker to label the baggies. Silicone bags are super practical and safe even under high temperatures. They don’t leach chemicals into your food, and last much longer than plastic. And they are hypoallergenic, so experts say they are one hundred percent safe for storing baby food and drinks. 

5. Bamboo and cork canisters

These multi-purpose jars can be one of the most convenient and practical things in your home. They are made out of bamboo and come with hermetic cork lids. This is to ensure that the content of the jars is always secure. Apart from looking very cool, you can choose from a fancy palette of colours according to your style. They will provide a beautiful decoration to your kitchen.

Bamboo and cork canister
Bamboo and cork canister
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6. Beeswax wrap paper

This is a sustainable alternative to plastic wrap. You can use it to wrap the same ingredients as you used before with the plastic wrap. The difference is that this type of wrapping paper is washable, reusable and compostable. It’s made out of organic ingredients, such as organic cotton, beeswax, tree resin and organic jojoba oil. Sounds cool right?

Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps
Beeswax Food Wraps
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7. Organic cotton produce bags

Besides being non-plastic and eco-friendly, these produce bags are ‘breathable’. This means that the produce will stay fresh even longer. Be careful though, some of the produce might get dry if you don’t use it for too long. Cotton produce bags are easy to wash and maintain, and very practical to carry while shopping as well. Besides, they can be used as storage bags even in the smallest drawers.

Reusable Produce Bags
Reusable Produce Bags
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Out with the old, in with the new: ditch single-use plastic and welcome reusable food containers!

Cleaning up after an everyday meal, dinner party or any kind of a home celebration can be exhausting. What’s even more exhausting is storing the leftovers in proper containers instead of throwing it out or keeping them in the plastic containers they came with in the first place. However, reusable food containers are here to make this ‘chore’ easier, and ensure we can enjoy the food in the following days. So, say no to your old habits, because once you feel the perks of using reusable food containers, you’ll never want to go back!

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