Sustainable food storage containers help cut back on single-use plastics and pollution. But which type is right for you?
When it comes to sustainable food storage, there’s more than meets the eye. There are many types of reusable food containers to choose from, of differing materials and in various shapes and sizes depending on the situation at hand. If you’re looking to cut back on single-use plastics, like plastic bags or cling wrap, or just want to explore something new, you’ll definitely want to try some of these reusable food storage containers.
Sustainable, eco-friendly food storage will cost more upfront, though you’ll save in the long run by not having to purchase roll after roll of disposable plastic products. Plus, you can cut back on the amount of waste that goes into the landfill (or, the ocean) and can do so in style. The best reusable food containers are often made of durable, all-natural, and biodegradable materials like organic cotton and beeswax instead of petrochemicals. They’re also more aesthetically pleasing and fit in seamlessly with your lifestyle compared to their single-use counterparts. They’re perfect for storing fresh produce, like a partially cut squash or a bundle of parsley, and can be used at home or on the go.
Since some reusable containers will be better-suited for certain uses than others, from airtight storage containers to a sustainable wrap or cloth bag, be sure to outfit your kitchen with the right types of storage right for your particular needs. You can also look for fun patterns and bright colors to add a touch of personality.
Tips for Picking the Right Sustainable Food Containers
There’s no secret or magic formula for picking the right reusable food storage container for your kitchen. While there are some products that are better than others in terms of durability and material quality, size, price point, and ecological impact, ultimately it comes down to utility and which one fits the demands of your lifestyle.
Do you need to transport soups to work and keep them hot for long hours? Or are you looking for a cloth wrap for storing produce and covering bowls? People are tired of the warped and stained plastic containers that leach chemicals into food, of polluting oceans and streams with disposable plastics. Part of our mission at Public Goods is to create sustainable, zero-waste alternatives for products people use every day.
Here are few things to keep in mind as you look for more sustainable swaps in your kitchen:
- Versatility – Why buy three types of containers when one will do the trick? Look for multi-function capabilities to get the most out of your food storage. Our reusable cotton produce bags made of sturdy, woven muslin work as an alternative to plastic grocery bags, securely store fine grain bulk items like flour and quinoa, and can be dampened and used to keep greens fresh in the refrigerator.
- Exceptional Quality – Prioritize high-quality, eco-conscious materials. If you’re shopping for a sustainable food wrap, look for biodegradable, vegan-friendly materials that will hold up over time. If you’re replacing your old plastic kitchen tupperware, look for containers made of glass and silicone (without the harmful chemicals like BPA, PVC, and polystyrene).
- Leak-Proof Design – Airtight food containers are essential for storing things like soups, sauces, and other foods you’d rather not have spilled all over your shelves or in your bag on the way to work. Same goes for food wraps: make sure they’ll keep things sealed for maximum freshness and minimum mess.
Most kitchens, especially those of constantly in motion families, will have a collection of different food container types in a number of sizes. When shopping, try to fill the gaps in your current setup as efficiently as possible! If there are items you frequently use or need a few more of, stocking up on those can’t hurt either.
Our Picks – 6 Best Reusable Food Containers
It can feel daunting, selecting the best eco-friendly food storage container from the crowd of options. You’re not commanding an army, though whether you’re single, live with roommates, have children, or are the parent of a family of pets, these are products you’ll use each week.
1. Reusable Food Storage Wraps – Public Goods
Plastic-free food storage at its finest. Our Reusable Food Storage Wraps offer an excellent, reliable alternative to plastic wrap. They’re made from beeswax-coated cotton, a versatile plastic substitute that washes easily and won’t leave behind the chemical residues of plastics on your food.
Biodegradable and compostable, each pack comes with a small, medium, and large wrap to help you reduce waste and keep breads, fruits, cheeses, sandwiches, vegetables, and anything else neatly sealed. Use on the go or right at home for a cleaner kitchen.
2. Reusable Produce Bags Organic Cotton – EcoRoots
EcoRoots’ Reusable Produce Bags help cut back on the use of plastic bags. As they point out, rather shockingly, Americans dump 100 billion plastic bags into the landfill every year. Zero-waste, reusable food storage bags like these offer a versatile, responsible alternative. They’re made with organic cotton and work well for produce storage at home, and when shopping at the grocery store or farmers market.
Each set contains small, medium, and large bags for a variety of uses. Store a bundle of apples, kale, pasta, coffee beans, you name it. Like the Public Goods food wraps, they’re also easy to clean.
3. 4-Cup Glass Food Storage – Frego
This glass, 4-cup storage container from Frego offers a shatter-proof, spill-proof, plastic-free way to store, heat, and serve your favorite foods. With a double-seal silicone lid and silicone sleeve around the glass base, you can keep surfaces and tables safe when serving hot foods, while protecting against breakage in the event of dropping. Versatile and airtight, all components are oven and microwave-safe. Frego carries these reusable food storage containers in a number of sizes and fun colors, such as blue, pink, green, and honeysuckle.
4. Stand-Up Mid Bags – Stasher
Stasher’s Stand-Up Bags are made of non-toxic silicone, keeping foods fresher longer in the refrigerator, in transit, in the pantry, or wherever else you’d need them. They ship in minimal packaging to reduce the environmental footprint, pride themselves on being endlessly reusable, and save on space with their stand-up design. Select from a variety of sizes, from pocket-sized for snacks to half-gallon for bulk storage. They also come in an array of fun colors, like lavender, pineapple, and clear.
5. Porter Seal Tight Bowl – W&P
Eco-friendly containers just got a little more stylish. These Porter Seal Tight Bowls keep meals warm and safe from spills in an elegant-looking BPA-free borosilicate glass container, wrapped in protective silicone. With no metallic aftertaste or worry of leaching chemicals from plastics, this bowl is a great eco-conscious alternative to your standard plastic containers. These are best for on-the-go meals and reheating leftovers in the office, though aren’t as equipped for the storage of produce and other goods as compared to the first few items on this list.
6. Reusable Mesh Grocery Bag – Public Goods
Rounding out our list is another versatile Public Goods plastic-free food storage container — our Reusable Mesh Grocery Bag. Made with 100% organic cotton, they offer an all-natural, vegan-friendly alternative to plastic produce bags that can be used when shopping or storing produce at home. They feature a convenient drawstring for keeping foods secure. No bleaches, no dyes, no synthetic materials, no guilt — we even plant a tree with every order.
Sustainability at Home and On the Go
Versatile reusable food containers are great for building a more sustainable kitchen and lifestyle. While it can be tempting to fill your shelves with different containers, bags, and wraps, sometimes all you really need are the essentials. At Public Goods, our products are designed to cover a wide range of applications to reduce consumer overwhelm and simplify an increasingly chaotic world.
Looking for more tips for how to shop sustainably and live zero-waste? Head over to the Public Goods blog for some inspiration and eco-friendly TLC.
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