Finding eco-friendly solutions to everyday problems may not always be easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that hard, either, especially with a vast community of greenies more than willing to offer advice (and an easy-access forum thanks to the internet). Plus, the green movement has expanded so much in the last several years, what with the growing awareness of the effects of pollution and waste on our planet, that many retailers are now offering eco-products in addition to their traditional wares. So when you come to the conclusion that using disposable plastic baggies or even permanent plastic containers to store your leftovers is an approach that is less than environmentally sound, you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of other options that will extend the life of your perishable foodstuffs without contributing to the destruction of the planet. Here are some to consider.
Plenty of people find ways to work with what they already have. Plastic storage bags may not be eco-friendly, but they’re certainly handy. So if you like the convenience but hate to throw them away, avoid the feelings of guilt by reusing them. Many of these bags are fairly resilient, so simply rinse them out with some warm water and dish soap, set them on your drying rack, and use them again and again (unless of course they have had raw meat in them, they’ve harbored mold, or there is some other form of unsanitary conditions…then you may want to toss them). Of course, plastic is probably the worst possible option when it comes to doing your part for the environment, so once you work your way through the plastic bags you’ve got, consider recycling your permanent plastic containers in favor of something a little healthier for the planet and for your family.
You may be hesitant to use aluminum foil because of the damage caused to the earth during the mining of metals that are used to create this kitchen staple, but there is a solution here that’s probably better than plastic. Many stores now carry 100% recycled aluminum foil (even the popular Reynolds brand has started to make this concession), which means that your purchase is actually slowing the roll of this type of mining and showing manufacturers that you prefer the recycled fare (this is how you vote with your consumer dollars). Plus, you can reuse and recycle it on your own, making it a fairly eco-friendly option for food storage.
But the best solution comes in the form of glass. And there are a couple of options here. If you’re lucky, you can get your mom or grandma to part with the family set of vintage refrigerator dishes (often made of Pyrex) which can go from oven to fridge and back again and come with glass lids (unlike modern options that tend to feature plastic lids). You can also find these sets on eBay and even at flea markets and garage sales (a pods promotional code that ends with a storage locker full of junk means you win when the owners finally sell it all off). Just get ready to cough up some dough; they’re not cheap, but they are an investment that will last you for years if you’re careful (and save you over the purchase of disposable plastic items in time). Another option is mason jars. They come in a variety of sizes, and thanks to metal lids that seal air tight you can store solids and liquids without the fear of leakage.