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MarcIsMyHero's avatar

What are your green alternatives to kitchen food storage?

Asked by MarcIsMyHero (650 points ) May 10th, 2010

I am trying to green my kitchen and eliminate plastics. I have switched to glass jars and glass bowls with lids for many of my food storage items… but what is a good way to replace plastic wrap? I’ve been trying to wrap things in parchment paper or wax paper, but this might not be the best option. what do you environmentally and health conscious flutherers do?

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31 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I store all food in glass jars (I buy canning jars by the dozen at the hardware store) and in glass or ceramic soup bowls. I use plates as covers.

xxii's avatar

What about tupperwares? Aluminium foil?

philosopher's avatar

I bought green plastic containers at whole Foods.
I use glass in the Microwave and I am looking for bigger green plastic containers.

Seek's avatar

I’d probably settle for trying to find saran wrap made from recycled content.

Of course, there’s always the “cook less, so you don’t have leftovers” thing, too. But where’s the fun in that?

mcbealer's avatar

I use Classico spaghetti sauce, which comes in canning jars. When I make pasta I don’t bother rinsing out the jar (saving water, time) but rather set it aside. After dinner, I store any leftover pasta in the same jar and refrigerate for a quick meal later on in the week.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve rarely ever used plastic wrap or foil much less plastic containers. It’s always been pretty simple to put food in a bowl and then cover it with a plate as a lid or food on plates and then cover them with upside down bowls. I’ve been too lazy and stingy to invest in glass storage sets although I see the beauty in them when I use my mom’s vintage refrigerator sets.

lilikoi's avatar

I rarely use plastic wrap.

I bought a couple of these and these. You need something to make a seal for good preservation. Polypropylene lids seem to be a reasonable compromise. I’m pretty sure they don’t leach BPA and may be one of the “better” plastics. In any case, it is a much smaller amount of plastic per vol of food storage than Tupperware containers. You might be able to put these in the oven and freezer (sans lids)...I forget.

I also save plastic yogurt containers for freezing food, and then when the soft plastic absorbs too much food smell retire them to gardening pots. I save the canning jars I get from jams I buy and other glass jars (Adams Peanut Butter is my favorite because they do not taper and therefore are easy to clean) to store food in. You cannot put these in the freezer…they will crack.

I own exactly two plastic containers (made by Glad) and that is only because someone gave them to me with food in them and I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing them away.

YARNLADY's avatar

I re-use items I get from the grocery store, such as the fresh produce bags, and the plastic bags that are inside the cereal boxes.

SamIAm's avatar

Wax paper or parchment paper (or whatever that stuff is you get your cold cuts wrapped in at the deli) may all work… and you can use a sticker to seal… all of that will be compostable i think!

breedmitch's avatar

Crate and barrel sells square glass pint containers with glass lids. Good size for small ammounts of leftovers. They stack really well in the fridge and are reproductions of what our (well my) grandmothers used before the scourge that is plastic became widely available.
As far as wrapping in parchment and wax paper, use a loose rubberband to hold things tighter.
Across the tops of bowls, I’d suggest recycled plastic wrap.
Welcome back to fluther.

downtide's avatar

I use aluminium foil much more often than plastic wrap. It’s re-usable and recyclable.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Like @YARNLADY writes, I also will keep particular bags that come with food, especially zip bags. It’s my small balance off of recycling convenience food packaging. Yes, I could buy three different colored Bell peppers to cook with but the already sliced and frozen ones in the zip pouch are so quick to cook with :)

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

maybe i need to amend the question…. not only do i want to be green and use less disposables…but I also am trying to be healthier and use less plastic. every article i read makes me think i need to stop storing food in plastic as soon as possible. leaching chemicals sounds awful… how did they do it before plastic entered our lives?

YARNLADY's avatar

@MarcIsMyHero how did they do it before plastic entered our lives? glass containers and wax paper, butcher paper or in some cases, newspapers, cotton sacks, towels.

gailcalled's avatar

@MarcIsMyHero: Cast your mind on what women did before disposable sanitary products.

@downtide; I keep one roll of aluminum foil and one of saran wrap for carrying large dishes elsewhere only. So I rarely use them; even the fact that foil is reusable (up to a point) and recycleable doesn’t make it better than glass.

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

@gail, when i posted this question i had a feeling you would be the first to respond and very helpful. so, thanks. how did they do it before sanitary products?

gailcalled's avatar

Ah, I’ll let you look it up. (One hint: Many tribal women used the fuzz on cattails and other soft natural products.)

christine215's avatar

I mostly use foil also but found this which looks pretty cool
http://www.kitchencritic.co.uk/2008/12/eco_food_covers.html

josie's avatar

Whatever your complaints about plastics, by the time you see them on the shelf, they are already created. Whether or not you use them, they are going to wind up in a landfill sometime and by some means. So until they are illegal, why not use them. At least somebody has a job making them.

breedmitch's avatar

Yeah. Until cigarettes are made illegal everyone should smoke too. ~

josie's avatar

@breedmitch Unsmoked cigarettes are biodegradable. If nobody buys them they return to the earth. Different principle. Points for effort, though.

breedmitch's avatar

There’s plenty about cigarettes that isn’t biodegradable (asbestos and fiberglass in the filter along with numerous chemicals added to the tobacco, itself) but the biodegradability of cigs wasn’t my argument. Points to you for trying to understand, though.
The problem I have with your suggestion is the idea that once plastics hit the stores you might as well use them. If you buy them, they will only make more. I’d counter that if nobody bought them they’d stop making them.

josie's avatar

@breedmitch if nobody buys them they will send them to China or India or throw them away. They will still wind up buried in the ground someday. Not to be offensive, but there is a sort of bourgeois approach to the green movement in the West. There are people on Earth who are eagerly anticipating the day that they have left over food, and a cold place to store it-in a nice airtight plastic container.

breedmitch's avatar

Aha! See, I had a sneaking suspicion you had a dislike of the green movement.
“Not to offensive” (sic), but you’re the kind of person who likes snowmobiles and jetskis, no?

josie's avatar

@breedmitch See correction. I shop at the grocery with a reusable bag. I have a compost pile. I also drive a car and I love to jet ski. There is no Utopia. Lots of people have tried it.

breedmitch's avatar

I commend your eco minded practices and would encourage you to go even greener.
Don’t take my jabs too much to heart. I haven’t owned a car in 17 years so I often get a bit holier than thou. I revel in my elitism. ;)
It is true that Utopia can never exist but that shouldn’t preclude our striving for it.
Edit: I just read the entire thread again and would like to point out that the original poster had more concerns about the plastics releasing chemicals into his food than the biodegradability of the container.

josie's avatar

@breedmitch That is a bit like saying there is no fountain of youth, but let’s keep looking. Anyway, have fun with the green practices. I will not get in your way unless you try to force me to follow along.

breedmitch's avatar

Oh, um… we actually do plan on forcing you to follow along. Right before we come for your guns. ~

josie's avatar

@breedmitch Goodluck. Also, goodnight

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sarahsugs's avatar

When I do use ziplock bags, I wash them out afterward and hang them with clip magnets to the side of the fridge to dry, then reuse them. They last an amazingly long time this way. I can go a year or more without buying a box of ziplocks. (Though this habit irks my husband, as he finds them annoying to wash, after swimming with sea turtles in Hawaii I redoubled my efforts not to throw out plastic bags. From a few feet away I watched them snap up bits of algae and seaweed, which to a turtle’s eye in murky water could look very similar to a discarded ziplock that has made its way to the ocean. Whenever my husband gets annoyed at the plastic bags in the sink, I tell him it’s for the sea turtles. As turtles are his favorite animal, he can hardly argue with that.)

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