Cling wrap, plastic ziplock bags, disposable plastic containers. What do these items have in common? They’re wasteful ways to store food. Finding zero waste food storage is a must when it comes to sustainable living, but how?
The kitchen is an essential part of our homes. It’s where we eat, drink, cook, and often even socialize. So when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment it is important to include our kitchen.
There are many aspects to making our kitchens more eco-friendly, and food storage is just one. Yet, besides learning how to compost, having zero waste food storage is one of the biggest ways we can reduce our kitchen waste.
So let’s dive in to the basics of zero waste food storage, what materials are best, and cheaper options for those on a budget.
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When it comes to storing our food without waste, glass is likely the first material that came to your mind. With influencers sharing their pretty shelves full of perfectly labeled and identical jars, it’s hard to imagine storing food any other way! When it comes to storing food in glass there are 3 main types to look for.
Glass Containers and Bowls
You know what I’m thinking of, those beautiful Pyrex containers. These kinds of containers are excellent because they often come with silicon lids making them microwavable!
These types of containers are good for storing leftovers because they can easily be reheated and even eaten from. You can easily find Pyrex or similar in most department stores such as Target and Walmart, making them very available.
Ah yes, the ever trendy mason jar. Everyone loves a beautiful mason jar in their life. Mason jars come in all sizes, making them excellent for storing food staples such as sugar, flour, etc.
The downside to mason jars is that they are often expensive. This is because everyone wants them so they’re in high demand.
The best and most sustainable way to find affordable mason jars is to buy them second hand! You can easily find mason jars for only a dollar or two at thrift stores and yard sales. It’s better to buy them used because they’re very easy to find secondhand and it’s more eco-conscious.
Reuse Glass Jars
Another great way to get some jars is to buy foods in glass jars and then reuse the jar. Think foods like honey, nut butters, jams, sauces, and even drinks that can be found in glass jars.
When you need to buy these items at the grocery store simply look for it in a glass jar and purchase that one. Once you have used up the contents, clean the jar, and fill it with something new!
Reusable Sandwich Bags
The notorious ziplock bag. We use it once and then throw them away. They just create waste and pollute the environment. Yet they are extremely convenient, making it a very difficult item to replace. There are other options though!
Instead of buying and wasting ziplock bags, get reusable silicon bags instead! Silicon bags are easy to use, and once you’re done you simply wash them out and use them again! They’re also very sturdy and hard to break, they’re spill proof, and some brands are microwaveable too!
My personal favorite brand of silicon bags is Stasherbag. They’re very well known in the zero waste community, and are very easy to use!
Reuse Your Ziplocks
If you aren’t able to purchase any reusable silicon bags right now then I suggest you reuse the ziplock bags you currently have. Unless they rip, ziplock bags can be easily cleaned out and reused again and again.
The only downside is that they are easy to tear which means they wont last forever. Yet the longer you make each one last the less you will have to use.
Sometimes we just need to cover a bowl or plate instead of use whole new containers, and that’s when we use the nasty plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is extremely difficult to try to reuse so its thrown out after just one simple use.
Instead of creating this waste purchase some wax wraps! They come in various sizes, are not very expensive, last a long time, and are often even compostable.
How to Use Wax Wraps
Wax wraps are obviously pretty stiff when you first get them, especially depending on the brand. To tighten them and make them stay around a dish, you must mold them with your hands. The heat from your hands will make the wrap mold and stay better. So they’re really not hard to use!
How to Clean Wax Wraps
When it comes to cleaning wax wraps hand wash with a small amount of soap and cold water. Hot water can melt the wax off, so cold water is important!
Stainless steel containers are excellent because they are extremely durable. At the end of its life stainless steel is also easily recyclable.
When it comes to storing hot or cold foods for long periods of time, choose double walled stainless steel containers. These containers will keep food at it’s needed temp for hours! This makes it great for bringing temperature sensitive food with you on the go.
I personally love bringing hot soup in my stainless steel food container because it keeps it hot all day long.
I know what you’re thinking-PLASTIC?! Yes, sometimes plastic actually can be zero waste. How?
When given the option to go out purchasing a bunch of new items or simply using the reusable plastic containers you already have, stick to what you have first. When we purchases new items we are using more resources from our planet. Plus, if we were to throw out a bunch of perfectly fine containers that would simply just be creating more waste!
Another benefit of using plastic containers is that they aren’t breakable. If you were to pack your lunch in a glass container and drop it, it would shatter! Just make sure if you are reusing your plastic containers that they are BPA free.
How Do You Create Zero Waste Food Storage?
What did you learn? We discovered the basics of zero waste food storage, the best materials to use, what each material can be used for, and the budget friendly alternatives! Do you feel inspired to redo your food storage? What tips did you enjoy? What items do you prefer to use?
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