Did you grow up storing your food in plastic storage containers? Maybe you even, *gasp* microwaved food in the plastic. Did you ever notice how the plastic would turn red from tomato sauce or maybe how it would warp if you microwaved it or put it in the dishwasher? Plastic food storage containers are not the best option if you want to keep the toxic chemicals out of your food. Thankfully, there are lots of safer options and alternatives available today for those interested in non toxic living. We’re going to take a look at the best non toxic food storage containers.
Why are plastic containers not a good idea for food storage?
The biggest issue with plastic is that the chemicals used to make the plastic containers can leach into your food or beverages, and then when you consume the food, you consume the chemicals along with it.
According to Harvard, some of the chemicals have been linked to metabolic disorders such as obesity and infertility. If you put hot food into the plastic containers or heat your food in the plastic, you could get an even higher dose of the chemicals.
Dangers of Bisphenol A in plastic food storage containers:
One of the biggest known chemicals for causing problems in plastic containers is BPA. You’ll find BPA in rigid, hard, clear plastic containers made of polycarbonate. There is research that BPA can cause issues with children’s behavior, and my possibly be linked to increased blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
You’ll find many plastic food storage containers no longer contain BPA because of the health risks.
Finding Safe Plastic Food Containers
You can find bpa-free plastic food storage containers pretty easily. All you need to do is look on the bottom of the container. You’ll notice a recycle symbol and a number. Numbers 3, 6, and sometimes 7 contain BPA and you’ll definitely want to avoid those.
Plastic items that contain numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 have no known health risks. No matter which number is on the bottom of your food storage container, you’ll want to avoid putting the containers in the microwave or the dishwasher because the high temperatures can surely leak harmful chemicals into your food. Always wash by hand.
A better choice for your food storage needs is to avoid plastic altogether. There are so many options available to make easy storage of food items possible without plastic.
Best Non-Toxic Food Storage Containers
There are tons of options available for your food storage needs that do not contain plastic. Let’s break down some of my favorite ways to store food!
Glass storage containers are my absolute favorite plastic-free food storage. They come in a variety of sizes and usually include leak-proof lids.
- Completely safe. Most glass is made from sand.
- Most glass can be heated with no issues in the oven or microwave.
- Can be washed in the dishwasher (If glass food storage containers come with plastic lids, make sure to hand wash them.)
- Easy to clean.
- Easy to organize.
- Can see contents inside.
- Not super child-friendly. Can break pretty easily.
- May not withstand temperature change well and can shatter.
- Seals on lids can be difficult to clean.
- Can be expensive.
Let’s take a look at some of the highest recommended glass food storage containers:
Anchor Hocking includes highly rated glass storage containers with BPA free plastic lids. This particular set comes in different sizes that makes organizing your leftovers a breeze. They are also made in the United States if that is something you are concerned about.
If you need a container for your dry goods, these glass jars are a really great choice. They include an airtight seal to keep your food fresh, and look great on your kitchen counters or on your pantry shelves. They are also large at 1/2 gallon, so they are a great way to store a large amount of food.
Meal prep is all the rage and if you like to prepare a week’s worth of meals in advance, you’re going to want to try out these glass meal prep containers. They have two compartments so you can separate different parts of your meal. They make great lunch containers and another plus is you can microwave them without having to worry, unlike the plastic food prep containers. These meal prep containers are made with borosilicate glass, so you’ll worry less about the glass shattering if you heat it up from cold. They also fit wonderfully in a lunch bag if you’re on the go.
Mason jars make the best food storage containers. Not only are they amazing for food preservation, but they can be used for storing almost any other type of food you can imagine! Think mason jar salad, overnight oats, leftover soups, anything really. Also, if you like to find sustainable options, save glass jars you buy from the grocery store after you’ve used the food inside of them. I like to keep my glass pasta jars and reuse them in a similar way to mason jars.
Ceramic Coated Glass Containers
Another really great option if you prefer glass storage containers is ceramic coated glass. It sturdier than regular glass containers with all the same pros as its glass counterparts.
- Microwave and oven safe
- Refrigerator and freezer safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Odor and stain resistant
- Easy to clean
- Less breakable than glass alone
- Cannot use metal utensils
- Sliding across surfaces can damage the exterior coating
- Cannot take from freezer or fridge directly to oven or microwave
- Not made for soups or broths
My favorite brand of ceramic coated glass storage containers is Caraway. They come beautifully packaged with care instructions, a cleaning eraser, and my favorite part, an organizer so your beautiful new storage containers aren’t floating around your cabinets. They are well-made and totally safe for your whole family!
Stainless Steel Containers
What if you need a less breakable option than a glass food container for your food storage needs? Stainless steel food storage containers are the easiest way to avoid the endocrine disruptors in plastic and are more durable than glass.
- Odor and stain resistant so food won’t make the stainless steel smell.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Easy to clean.
- Cannot go into the oven or microwave.
- Not transparent so you can’t easily see what’s inside.
- May show scuff marks or scratches which is purely cosmetic.
These stainless steel containers have leak-proof and airtight lids to keep your foods fresh and prevent spillage. These particular containers are stackable and that will save you space in your cabinet. They are perfect for packing food and taking them anywhere. They are super easy to clean and chemical free!
If you’re looking for round containers, these round stainless steel containers are a good option. They come in a variety of sizes and work really well for school lunches. They are lightweight and wash easily.
Are you looking for a stainless steel container with stainless steel lids? These containers are leak-proof, spill-proof, and airtight with latches. These containers are lightweight and better at keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
Food-Grade Silicone Containers
Another best choice when it comes to choosing food storage containers is food grade silicone. Opt for food grade silicone that is FDA or LFGB certified to ensure that the product has passed strict testing standards.
- More eco-friendly than plastic, doesn’t break down into tiny parts like plastic.
- Highly temperature resistant, so it won’t warp or degrade when exposed to temperature changes.
- Durable and easy to clean.
- Easy to store, especially collapsible storage containers
- Not biodegradable, but can be recylced
- Can be expensive
- Can be hard to find transparent containers
Looking for an alternative to plastic storage bags? Try these reusable silicone storage bags. They are freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe, as well as leakproof. They are also transparent, so you can easily see the contents!
Do you need larger containers? These collapsible silicone storage containers work well to hold larger amounts of food. The best part about them is that they take up very little cabinet space because you can just collapse them!
The final non toxic food storage item I just have to mention are beeswax wraps. While not necessarily a container, beeswax wraps are a safe way to store food items for the short-term. If you need to wrap a sandwich for lunch, create a pouch for some pretzels, or if you need an alternative for plastic wrap on a bowl, a beeswax wrap is the way to go.
- Great alternative for plastic bags
- Made with all natural ingredients
- Completely reusable
- Must keep from heat
- Must be hand washed and hung to dry
Look how cute these strawberry beeswax wraps are! Perfect for most of your food storage needs, these eco-friendly wraps are a great way to keep your food fresh without the chemicals.
These beautiful beeswax wraps are cute and great for using as a food wrap, food bag, or even a placemat. They come in a variety of sizes, are easy to clean, reusable, and made with organic cotton.