Plastic containers are so easy and convenient to use. We use them in our homes to carry our lunches and to store leftovers. Restaurants use them to store their prepped food for the next shift and to send them home with us when we order takeout.
It’s okay to use plastic food storage containers as long as they are BPA free right? Wrong. There are so many other chemical additives that are used during the plastic fabrication process that could be harmful to us… BPA has just been studied more.
Tossing out good plastic containers may be a hard decision, but we have chosen the best non-toxic food storage containers to replace them with along with all reasons why you should!
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What’s Wrong with Plastic Food Storage Containers?
Here’s the problem with plastic food storage containers: there are so many chemicals used in the fabrication of plastic that we can’t always tell what’s safe and what’s not.
Most of the time when food and drink companies say a product is free from something, there is another additive being used in its place. Sometimes this can be a good thing, while other times it’s just a label workaround, and those ingredients are no better than what they started with.
BPA has gotten alot of exposure over the years, and suddenly every plastic product has a label saying “BPA Free”! So the average consumer believes that these products are totally safe because that’s what the label states, but many companies actually just switch to BPS!
If there’s one thing you learn when you start out on your non-toxic journey, it’s that companies can easily find loopholes to make their products seem safer, greener, or healthier. When you really dive into the products, however, their ingredients and the way they’re made are anything but safe, healthy, and green.
Plastic Leaches Toxic Chemicals
Even when a plastic container says that it is BPA-free, chemicals are still released from the product, contaminating whatever is in it. Contamination increases when it is exposed to heat, like when you throw your containers in the microwave or dishwasher.
According to research, “A 2011 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reported that when scientists tested commercially available plastic products labeled as BPA-free, almost all of them leached out chemicals known to have estrogenic activity, meaning that they mimicked human estrogen. Some of the chemicals had even more estrogenic activity than the BPA they replaced.”
You may also be wondering why some of your plastic bowls are stained or have that little white ring going around the inside. Plastic is actually porous, and over time cleaning causes etching in the plastics, then staining occurs. Also, when you store acidic foods, like tomato-based sauces, they can actually absorb the plastic because of their pH level! All the more reason to swap to a non toxic food storage container!
It’s worth mentioning that those nice, sturdy containers you get when you order takeout, are considered single-use containers. This is the same concept as disposable gloves. Once they are used one time, they are meant to be thrown away. If you are constantly reheating and storing food in these, who knows what chemicals are leaching out.
Plastic Isn’t Sustainable
If you care about your health, then you probably care (at least a little bit) about our planet too. As you may know, plastic is not sustainable, and it constantly creates a ton of waste and pollution. Making the decision of using a plastic-free non-toxic food storage container helps cut down on waste, decreases the concern of depleting our resources, and offers a better quality of life!
What are Non-Toxic Food Storage Containers Made Out Of?
Glass. The great thing about using glass for food storage is that you never have to worry about toxins, and it’s great for cold and hot storage. Unlike plastic, there are no chemicals to leach, and it doesn’t absorb the smell or color of any food. The downside to using glass containers, of course, is that they are heavier to carry when you’re on the go, and they are more likely to break.
Silicone. If you should opt for a silicone option, we recommend only purchasing high-quality products that are 100% food-grade silicone. Lower quality silicones often contain fillers, which could pose some of the same risks as using plastic. That being said, silicone cups and containers are great for kids too, and they’re safe to heat up! If you opt for silicone, you may be interested in silicone utensils and cookware too.
Stainless Steel. You probably have a stainless steel water bottle or insulated tumbler, but this material is great for food storage too. While stainless steel containers are toxin-free, they are not microwave safe, which is a deal-breaker for some. On the other hand, they are great for kids because the containers can’t break and they’re great for traveling because insulated containers (like this Thermos) can keep food warm and cold.
Ceramic. Ceramic containers rank in the same department with glass. Most of the time we use ceramic dishes for baking casseroles, but they are also a great alternative to plastic food containers. Even at high temperatures, they are toxin-free, but like glass, they are heavy and breakable.
The Best Non-Toxic Food Storage Containers
We had to list this non-toxic food storage solution first because we are obsessed! They come in tons of fun colors and sizes! They are also great for organizing and storing stuff in other areas of your home. Stasher bags are 100% silicone, microwave and dishwasher safe, and they’re even freezer friendly!
These stainless steel bento boxes come in different sizes and are great for packing lunches and snacks, even for road trips! They’re free from PVC, phthalates, BPA, BPS, and lead. If you are shopping for your kids, these lunch boxes come with fun magnets to cover the top with! Remember though, they can’t go in the microwave and are not designed for oven use. We also don’t recommend putting them in the freezer.
This is a nice stackable set, depending on how many containers you need, you will definitely want to order more than one. It includes 4 sizes, each with a bamboo lid that provides an air-tight seal without using any plastic! Not only are they toxin-free, but the bamboo lids look nice too! Since they are made from glass, you can use them for hot and cold food storage and they are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe!
We love the different sizes and shapes that Pyrex offers! Your mom and grandma have probably used Pyrex for years. You may even have some Pyrex hand-me-downs. Their products seem to last forever, and they’re safe to use in the microwave, oven, dishwasher, and freezer. Unfortunately, the lids are plastic, and even though they’re marked dishwasher safe, we recommend hand washing them and avoiding putting them in the microwave. While they are BPA-free, we don’t want to risk exposure to other possible chemicals.
Above, we mentioned ceramic being a great alternative to plastic containers. The downside is often the size and shape of the containers. While these are freezer friendly, like glass, you cannot put them directly under heat after taking them out of the freezer. The lids contain a silicone gasket, so they do offer a seal without plastic. Stoneware is safe up to 500 degrees and is also great for dry storage items.
There are so many great non-toxic food storage container options that benefit our health, and are functional and practical! Not to mention you can mix and match the different materials so they make sense for your family, especially if you have kids!