Headed towards back to the basics living.

Time to Let Go of Plastic Food Containers?


I’ve got them, a couple dozen in fact. Chances are you do too. Those plastic food containers are so great for storing leftovers. Maybe you put the next days lunch in them, grab them on your way out and then put them in the microwave for a quick reheat in the break room. I know DH takes at least one a day with him. The problem with this is that every time heat comes into contact with the plastic it leaches into your food. (Including things like phthlates and BPA). Even the ones that say they are microwave safe! I heard this somewhere a few months ago and its just been niggling away at my brain in the background since. I remember  thinking I needed to do something different but not having the knowledge of how. And so it went on the back burner of my To Do List.

I also consoled myself with the fact that since I already had the containers I might as well use them. I still think that’s true. But there are practical ways to still use them and expose yourself (and your kids) to less plastic in the meantime. Besides, I really hate the thought of going to all the trouble to grow & prepare my own nutritious healthy food at home only to expose myself  and family to something else unintentionally.

There’s a great article over at Fake Plastic Fish with really practical, genuine ideas to get less plastic and more nutrition into your body.  I finally feel I have some practical tips to take away and implement in my own house. Here’s the basic rundown of information I gleaned:

  • If you must eat/drink from plastic containers avoid have them come into contact with major heat sources.
  • Avoid putting fatty foods in them as they will bond very easily with the plastic. Beth at Fake Plastic Fish suggests using the plastic containers only  for things like crackers, nuts and cold sandwiches-you get the idea.
  • Look for alternative sources of food storage.  Try stainless steel, like the ones below from Plastic Free Bottles, although SS is a bit pricey for my budget. Or you could go with  glass. Try reusing jars from food you already buy.

    These pretty stainless steel containers DO have plastic lids but you could probably just hand wash them. Maybe a little bit of compromise is the way to start. It definitely doesn't have to be an all or nothing approach.

  • Buy from the bulk bin and use your own safe containers.
  • Bring your own doggy bag to a restaurant for leftovers.
  • Consider using those plastic containers for things other than food. (This is my favorite idea by far-and the easiest I must say.) This way you’re not wasting the plastic you already have.  For me trying to remember what is and isn’t safe to put in a certain container and how to treat it just makes my life more complicated.  I prefer simplicity. The less little details I have to remember the better-I’ve been forgetting things lately. I’ve been told it only gets worse with motherhood. Oh boy!

P.S. I have to tell you that when I brought this up to DH it went over about as well as the whole “No More Paper Towels” idea. But you know what? We haven’t had paper towels in several months and we’ve survived-quite well, in fact.  But perhaps this idea may take a bit more adjustment than I thought. Maybe you’re with DH thinking this is just going a bit extreme. Well, maybe, but I plan on just easing into. It’s a pretty new idea to me too in some ways-can you  imagine a life without any plastic-at all????


3 thoughts on “Time to Let Go of Plastic Food Containers?

  1. These are great ideas. I’d love to see links to actual scientific studyings that shows that heating the food in plastic is harmful. Thanks!

  2. Matt and I read a story in BPA’s and we have never been the same. We will not use plastic storage on anything but dry goods. Thanks for sharing. BTW we use canning jars for storage now. They are cheap and seal well! And Rebecca, here is a link to the story we read.

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