3 Sustainable Storage Options to Replace Our Tupperware & Plastic Ziploc Bags

Did you know Tupperware was developed by Earl Tupper and that he first introduced Tupperware to the public in 1948.  

Tupperware pioneered the way in network marketing, more commonly known in the 1950’s as a Tupperware Party! You probably have heard of many businesses today who have adopted this marketing strategy like Mary Kay, doTERRA, Young Living and Herbalife.  Whether you love or hate this marketing strategy, most of us have Tupperware in our kitchens today because of it. It’s convenient, useful and affordable. But (of course you knew there was a but coming) - we cannot continue to keep using plastic due to the fact that it does not biodegrade, instead, it slowly breaks down into microplastics which enter our food chain and destroy our eco-systems.  

We are kicking our Tupperware habit.  We started using Tupperware because of it’s convenient.  But Tuperware is platsic and Plastic does not biodegrade but slowly breaks down into microplastics which enter our food chain and are effecting our eco-systems.  

Other commonly used food storage items are Ziploc bags and plastic wrap.  The convenience of these products was awesome….while it lasted. Now we know better, we must make better choices.  Tupperware is recyclable, but Ziploc bags are a little more tricky to recycle. Let’s face it, the majority of us are not going the extra mile to recycle our waste in the correct fashion.  It’s very easy to throw your plastic waste in the curbside pickup bin and think you are doing good.

But the reality is Ziploc bags most often just clog the recycling machines at facilities.  If plastic bags are accepted at your local recycling facilities, they may need to be stuffed into one plastic bag until it becomes about the size of a soccer ball.  

Regardless of whether it is recyclable or not, there is the problem of whether the plastic is leaching into our food.  I’ve found opposing research on this topic, but have decided that it’s probably best to just avoid plastic wherever I can.

I was once fooled by Pyrex, thinking this was my answer to my food storage needs.  I was wrong. Pyrex is a form or glass, however, it is not recyclable. Pyrex is a specially treated glass that is able to withstand high temperatures. This is why you can microwave it or put it in the oven.  However, this means it cannot be broken down and recycled.

I haven’t thrown out my Tupperware and Pyrex yet, I’m making good use of them before I throw them out.  Even my Ziploc and sandwich bags I’m trying to find useful and safe ways to reuse them as many times as possible.  Though I have been searching for more eco-friendly food storage options to replace plastic, and these are my 3 favorite options so far:

Step 1: Beeswax Wraps

Made of Beeswax, Organic Cotton, Jojoba oil and Tree Resin these wraps are biodegradable and compostable. They are reusable, reduce toxins in our food storage and unnecessary waste. The heat of your hands help seal the wrap and can be used to wrap fruits, vegetables, bread, and cheese but not meats. You can also you to cover a bowl making Beeswax wraps great to replace plastic bags and plastic wrap.

To clean them you simply wash with cold (never hot) water and soap. I absolutely love these! I regularly use these to store half an avocado, cut lemons and onions in the fridge and it helps my food last longer. Yes at first the price seems high compared to plastic wrap, but you have to consider that you are reusing these wraps for hundreds of uses. So add up the cost of your Ziploc bags, freezer bags, sandwich bags and plastic wrap over 4-6 months and then you’ll see the cost is worth it.

Step 2: Stainless Steel Containers

The wonderful thing about these is that they will last a really long time, unlike your Tupperware which will warp and disintegrate.  Even when stainless steel containers do come to the end of their very long life, the steel, which is made of chromium, nickel and molybdenum, are highly valuable and easily recovered to form other materials through recycling.  I’ve been using Mecete’s storage containers and love the fact that they are airtight and I can keep my food fresh in the freezer or fridge.  It’s made from 304-grade stainless steel which will not rust, is non-toxic and easy to clean.

Step 3: Mason Jars

The best thing about mason jars is their ability to have so many different lives!  Just do a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll find hundreds of ways to use mason jars for so much more than canning and food storage.  Your jar will last a long time, well until you drop it I guess, as food storage and you have so many wonderful options of ways to upcycle your jar.  The lids do need replacing, but the glass will last a long time and can be used in the microwave (not the lids) and recycled. These are great for purchasing products you can buy in bulk too, just weigh the jar first, this is known as the tar weight so it can be subtracted from the cost at checkout.  

Bring your containers to the grocery store for fish and meats from the butcher. You can also bring your own containers for cheese and olives from the deli.  With meats they weigh the meat before putting in your container, and then can place the sticker on your container for check out. However for something like olives you will have to tare your container before checkout. I like to keep the tare weight on my phone for easy reference at checkout. Yes, at first you may be met with confusion by your butcher, but it’s a great conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m trying to reduce my waste, please don’t use a plastic bag or sheet to place my meat on the scale”. I was terrified the first time I took a stainless steel pot to the grocery store and asked them to put a whole chicken in it. But it was not such a big deal and the butcher was friendly, helpful and chatty. People may be confused at first, but then inspired by your efforts. You can do the same with takeaways or to go food from restaurants.

Changing habits is hard.  We still slip up sometimes and forget to take containers or bags to the store.  But you have to start somewhere!

 

Up Next
In our next video, we share our trials and errors of trying to make our own liquid soap..

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Bees Wraps
Made of organic cotton and bees' wax, Bees Wraps are one of the best solutions we found for replacing many our single use plastic products is Beeswax wraps.

Stainless Steel Containers
We are moving away from our Tupperwares when they wears out and turning to stainless steel containers.  They have a silicon seal so are airtight in the fridge or freezer.

Mason Jars
We do upcycle our jars we get from the grocery, but there is nothing as reliable as a Mason Jar! We're not the only ones who love using mason jars - check out all the things people are going with jars on pintrest.

Mason Jar Lids
Mason Jars can last for generations. But the lids will need to be changed. When we buy new lids for our jars we choose to shop for BPA free lids.

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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