Feb 25, 2012

Posted by in Green Resources | 11 Comments

Glass Storage: Small Steps to Living Green Saturday, Step 1

Small Steps To Living Green Saturday

Step #1: Glass Storage containers

Why is this an important “green” step?

If you can’t store your food in a green and toxin-free way then any changes you make to eat more green (local, organic, whole grain, etc.), will not bring you as far as you can go!

Think about it…you spend all that time choosing your food based on where it came from, how it was “processed” (or if it was), how you prepared it, how you served it….how you store your food after it is prepared will be a major step in helping you live a healthier and greener lifestyle!

Step away from…

Conventional storage in the refrigerator and freezer has often been of plastic Tupperware containers and disposable plastic bags.

Though reusable many plastic storage containers contain toxins such as BPA, PVC, and phthalates.  These chemicals are often a bigger problem than normal when they are combined with food.  Acidic foods can help release the chemicals from the plastics into the foods that we then eat, as well as microwaving of the containers when they are reheated. Though some brands are moving away from using these types of chemicals in their plastics (such as the brand name Tupperware containers, but not all of their products are BPA free yet), plastic containers still have a shelf life.  With use in storage and microwaving they absorb the taste of certain foods, as well as the colors of others, get warped (making the seal of the container less tight and shortening the lifespan of your leftovers), and in the end disposed of.

Disposable plastic baggies, though convenient and light weight as well as unbreakable, not only have the same toxic chemicals as many plastic containers, but they are also one time use items that then get disposed of.  Plastic bags are now available using recycled plastic material and many people do hand-wash and dry their bags to reuse them but overall these “containers” for storage are not sustainable.

What does SAPsMaMa use?

In SAPsMaMa’s household we choose glass storage containers to store our food over other types of storage if possible.  The brand we rely on has been Kinetic GlassLock storage containers and they have worked wonderful.  They have multiple shapes and sizes from quite large to pretty small.

Have a block of cheese opened?  A nice sized square container is perfect.  Leftover diced onions or tomatoes from tacos?  The smallest containers work great!  Leftover Thanksgiving turkey that will last you months if put in the freezer?  I think that is a call for the XL rectangle container!

The glass storage container stacks nicely in our freezer to store leftovers.  Here is a large rectangle container with our leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat….soon to be turkey soup!

We chose this brand as when we moved to glass storage this was one of the few brands available, more brands are moving to this type of storage and so more choices are available now!  We also very much liked the silicone seal as silicone is a non-toxic material.  Though we had hoped for a silicone or other material lid the lids were made of plastic, but the plastic was free of major chemicals we were avoiding.  We also loved the size choices available! 4 sizes and shapes of GlassLock containers storing our leftover spaghetti from dinner, pancakes from breakfast, and turkey that is de-thawing from the freezer for turkey soup tomorrow!  (Apologies for the dirty fridge!)

 

Green Pros of Glass Storage Containers:
  • Toxin free…glass is non-leaching and chemical free!
  • Can be used safely in a microwave and dish washer in high heat without worrying about chemicals being released into your food.
  • Food can be stored as well as heated up (microwave or over!) in the same container….reduces dishes!
  • Reusable and durable, can be upcycled or recycled if use as a storage container must discontinue.
  • No staining or lingering smells and flavors such as from tomato sauces or onions
  • Can safely store food in fridge or freezer
Cons to Glass Storage Containers
  • Glass is heavy and breakable, which makes it sometimes an unwise choice if the food being stored will be used for a school or work lunch at a later date.
  • Unless you have multiple sizes and shapes it is difficult to sometimes fit what you want to store: I had the hardest time with leftover pizza for a while!
  • Glass does not expand, so if these are used in the freezer the lid might pop open if not enough room is left in the container, whereas plastic ziploc bags easily expand.

Learn more about Small Steps To Living Green Saturday at my information post!

 

This is one small step of many you may take to try to help your family live more “green” and eco-friendly in this modern world!  I am using my family as an example in small simple steps through Small Steps to Living Green Saturday every week…come check out the rest of my tips and steps in my Green Resources tab!
If you would like to link up your blog post or contribute a post to Small Steps To Living Green Saturday please email me at “sapsmama at yahoo dot com”, I’d love to feature other households as well as mine!

Let me know what you think!  Small Steps to Living Green Saturday is a  new SAPsMaMa blog feature, I would love your input!  Please share what you think of this layout and what you are hoping to see in the future with this feature!
What areas would you like to see featured?  What do you want to know the most about how SAPsMaMa’s family lives green?
  1. I always use glass. I am able to find really nice glass containers at 2nd hand shops and rummage sales. Thanks for the nice post.

    • Back in “the old days” glass and enamal coated ceramics and such were really common….plastic wasn’t around yet! Now our world is full of disposable products that have a limited lifetime for use, quality and durability has been left behind. That’s a great tip to find some cheap glass containers, thanks Debbie!

  2. Thanks for sharing Melissa. One area we haven’t gone green yet is with our food storage. As our Tupperware starts to wear out, I’d like to replace it with glass so I’ll have to check out the brand you’re using.

    • I first heard of GlassLock from Kinetic through Alicia at The Soft Landing, she used to carry it in the store but with their flat rate shipping and it being so heavy they had to discontinue it. I did eventually get mine on Amazon when it was on sale, and it often is. With free super saver shipping it isn’t as hard on the checkbook!

  3. I love these containers and use them also. I’m trying to get away from plastic which is hard because my hubby is very sensitive to noise and hates us eating from anything other than plastic bowls/plates etc. We have a constant battle and I am always looking for ways to stay BPA free without driving him insane.

    • That’s interesting! I can vouch I hate the clinking of putting away the glass containers in the morning when I’m still waking up…ug headache! You can’t heat up on it or wash it in a dishwasher but bamboo is a lightweight and non-noisy material 🙂 If you can find silicone plates or bowls and storage those are soft, don’t make noise, and are safe in dishwasher and can withstand heat!

  4. I have started adding glass food storage containers as well. We’re still guilty of using plastic sometimes, but only for cold food. I don’t store anything that is warm or warm anything up in the plastic container to avoid leaching toxins into the food. I can’t remember the name of the brand, but I bought some glass food storage containers at Dollar General. They were very affordable and durable.

    • That’s how we started! Just got a small set of glass storage and used them for food I would need to heat up at work or school between classes while studying at the library 🙂 It took us about a year to build our set to the size and shape containers that work best for us, but it’s a good step to work on!

  5. We’ve been saving out glass containers that things like jelly and sauces come in. It’s perfect if they are large enough to then put dry pasta in to store. While these are not meant for the freezer as they’d shatter due to how thin they are I do love reusing them and everything looks so cool in the cupboard with the clear glass.

    I really love the ones you featured and like other have said as soon as I have completely lost all lids to our containers or they wear out I plan on replacing them with glass. I have a feeling I’ll lose all the lids first 🙂

  6. I too save bottles and jars and reuse them. And I also love those GlassLock containers. I find they are easier to “unlock” rather than trying to pull of a frozen lid. We can get these at our local dollar store for quite an inexpensive price.

  7. I am finally making the leap – thanks Melissa! We have so many bags and boxes of pasta and dried beans and bulk rice and it’s awful and messy. I have used the following places for containers in my favor business and they all carry glass storage: sksbottle in NY, specialty bottle in WA and fillmore container in PA (they use styrofoam for packing – yuck – but they are a family business). I like specialty bottle but it’s so far I like to shop more locally and I am in MA.