Plastic use is extremely harmful to us human beings. Chemicals in plastic can leech into food and cause a variety of conditions including cancer. Needless to say, the use and disposal of plastic are also very difficult once their usable lifetime is over.
Hence, it is better to consider using alternatives. Let’s look at the safest alternatives in order to avoid the dangerous health hazards of using plastic to store food.1
Non-Plastic Containers That Are Safe
1. Mason Jars And Glass-Lock Containers
Glassware is the best alternative to plastic containers and are safe.2
- Mason jars are perfect vessels for organizing and storing any food item.
- Ants and spiders cannot harm your food stored in mason jars.
- Mason jars are ideal to store cooked gravies or broth.
- Mason jars can be used as canning jars to store preserved food, withstanding the heat and pressure of the canned food.
- Mason jars can be reused which makes cleanup and storage easy.
Glass lock containers that use tight fitting lids which do not contain bisphenol A (BPA) are a safer option for storage of food items for a longer period. Pyrex glass containers are made with BPA-free plastic lids can be used for serving and storing food. These glass containers are ideal for baking as they don’t deteriorate with time or high temperatures. Glassware can be recycled even if it breaks. You can bake, store, reheat, and serve food using the same dish as they don’t release toxins upon breakage.3
2. Ceramic Containers And Cookware
Ceramic containers are functional for storing preserved food such as pickles and for use as ovenware. They have a steel core with ceramic coating. The coating is antibacterial, taste-neutral, and nickel-free. They have excellent heat conductivity and hence can cook food quickly. Glass and ceramic are also considered best choices for cooking in the oven making them particularly versatile in use.
Ceramic cookware is an ideal choice for cooking because of the fact that they can resist cracking in under temperature changes. However, care should be taken to ensure that the glazes on your ceramic containers and vessels are lead-free as there is a risk of leachable lead exposure.4
3. Terracotta Pots And Containers
Terracotta pots and cookware are made of red clay which is then cured and prepared for use in cooking and storage.5
- You can use these terracotta vessels for preparing food and for serving cooked food.
- Terracotta pots and pitchers can store water and other beverages as they retain the natural flavor of the food.
- They look simple and durable if handled with care.
4. Wooden Boxes And Containers
Wooden containers are excellent for storage and preserving.6
- Spices can be easily stored as the natural quality of wood preserves the flavor of the item.
- Wooden boxes are lighter, less fragile, and easy to carry from one place to another.
- Wooden bins or boxes can be recycled and look beautiful in your kitchen cabinet when neatly stacked.
5. Metal Containers
Chocolates, cookies, and candies that are packed in sturdy metal containers are healthier than ever. These air-locked tins can keep the food items crispy for long. Storing water in copper vessels gives you the purest form of water.7 However, galvanized metal containers is not good for food storage as they leech zinc into the food which can be toxic on consumption. Storing acidic foods in copper containers is also bad for the same reason.8
Stainless steel containers can be used for storing hot food materials as they don’t corrode. They are ideal for packing lunches and larger ones can be used to store food materials in bulk. They are resistant to breaking, long lasting and can be carried easily along.9
6. Eco-Friendly Containers And Bags
Eco-friendly containers for storing food contributes to saving the planet from plastic landfills that won’t degrade. Here are some eco-friendly container options for you to try out. 10
- Parchment paper is a great eco-friendly option that can be used in place of plastic wraps, cling wraps, or plastic lids used to cover or store food. It is available in beautiful designs that can be used for candy and butter packaging. It can also be used for lining baking pans.
- Bamboo fibers are much longer than wood fibers and can be weaved into containers. Food grains like maize, wheat and paddy are stored in special containers made of bamboo called peri or peru in Himalayan regions of India.11
- Fruits and vegetables last longer stored in cloth bags in a cool, dry place. Leafy vegetables can be stored in cloth bags or wrapped in a damp cloth. Cloth bags can be reused and work well for transport and storage.12
- Another great alternative to plastic wraps and foil for covering bowls and pots for food storage are reusable silicone lids. They are flexible, strong and long-lasting.13
Your plastic containers may look pretty but aren’t particularly safe considering the harmful effects on human health. Go plastic-free by adopting containers made of naturally sourced ingredients, sturdy metal containers, biodegradable products or glassware. They are much safer, durable and are versatile in use.
|↑1||Talsness, Chris E., Anderson JM Andrade, Sergio N. Kuriyama, Julia A. Taylor, and Frederick S. Vom Saal. “Components of plastic: experimental studies in animals and relevance for human health.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 364, no. 1526 (2009): 2079-2096.|
|↑2||Paskett, Angela. “Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival: The Essential Guide for Family Preparedness.” Betterway Books, 2014.|
|↑3||Storey, Meagan. “Skinny Bitch: Home, Beauty & Style; A No-Nonsense Guide to Cutting the Crap Out of Your Life for a Better Body and a Kinder World.” (2011): 96-96.|
|↑4||Clark, Christopher James, and Jean-Luc Morel. Nutritional Grail: Ancestral Wisdom, Breakthrough Science, and the Dawning Nutritional Renaissance. Extropy Publishing, 2014.|
|↑5||JULY, ON. “CERAMIC AND POTTERY COOKWARE: A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF Pb.” (1998).|
|↑6||Reilly, Kathleen M. “Food: 25 Amazing Projects Investigate the History and Science of What We Eat.” Nomad Press, 2010.|
|↑7||Ahuja, Satinder. Chemistry and Water: The Science Behind Sustaining the World’s Most Crucial Resource. Elsevier, 2016.|
|↑8||Sandbeck, Ellen. Organic Housekeeping: In Which the Non-Toxic Avenger Shows You How to Improve Your Health and That of Your Family, While You Save Time, Money, and, Perhaps, Your Sanity. Simon and Schuster, 2007.|
|↑9||Loux, Renée. Easy green living: the ultimate guide to simple, eco-friendly choices for you and your home. Rodale, 2008.|
|↑10||Carpenter, Autumn. “The Complete Photo Guide to Candy Making.” Creative Publishing international, 2014.|
|↑11||Mukharjee, Amitava. Food security in Asia. SAGE Publications India, 2012.|
|↑12||Green, Jen. A Teen Guide to Eco-gardening, Food, and Cooking. Heinemann-Raintree Library, 2013.|
|↑13||Markman, Maurie and Loguidice, Christina T. and Lammersfeld, Carolyn. “Cancer Nutrition and Recipes For Dummies.” John Wiley & Sons, 2013.|