Eco-friendly ways to store and pack food
Eco-friendly food storage containers benefit your health and the environmentFor many, living a more sustainable lifestyle begins with the food we eat. As farmers markets and home vegetable gardens continue to grow, naturally more people are looking for eco-friendly food storage options. When in doubt, use the three Rs as your guide to storing and packing food: reduce, recycle and reuse.
It may come as no surprise that the phrase ďcheap and easyĒ is not all itís cracked up to be. Our oceans are filling with plastic, up to 46,000 pieces per square mile, according to a United Nations report. Eco-friendly food storage takes a little more effort and time than buying process snacks and baggies at the grocery store, but small changes can quickly become a normal part of your food prep and clean up routine, and even something you look forward to do.
Eco-friendly Food Storage and Packing
Glass and stainless steel storage containers are far more eco-friendly than plastic. They last longer and are safer for you, while plastic containers can leach harmful chemicals onto food and wear out quickly. If you use plastic, wash it by hand, and avoid putting it in the microwave and using it to store meat or cheese.
Store leftover meals in glass containers or pack your lunch for the following day in a lighter, steel container. Prevent food wastage by freezing vegetables before they spoil. Look for freezer-safe glass containers that allow liquid to expand. Pyrex glass withstands drastic changes in temperatures, like when you need to heat up frozen food.
Packing Lunch -
Packing a healthy, homemade lunch for your child is the first step to reducing the significant amount of waste produced by school lunches. Teach your child to throw nothing away at school. When he comes home, add the used wax paper and fruit peels to the compost pile, and wash the glass or metal storage containers and the reusable water or juice bottle.
D.I.Y. Snacks -
Resist the temptation to use plastic sandwich baggies, and single servings of chips or sweets. Itís healthier to include a piece of fruit instead or make your own granola bars or sweets with your child for an occasional treat.
A number of common kitchen items come in glass or reusable containers. Before you recycle them, look for creative ways to give them a second life.
* Aluminum foil is safer than plastic wrap, and can often be reused several times, though if used t cover raw meat, you should throw it away to avoid cross-contamination.
* If you already have a have lunchbox at home, consider letting your child redecorate the box before buying a new one. Cotton sacks, cloth napkins, and a food-grade stainless steel water or juice bottle will last a long time when washed and taken care of.
*Both the plastic bags that bread comes in and take out containers can be reused a few times for packing salads and sandwiches.
* Baby food jars and glass jelly jars make excellent storage containers, and small jelly jars are fun to reuse as cups.
* Re-purpose an old tissue box to hold and dispense plastic bags for lunches. On occasion, youíre bound to stop by the store without your reusable bag. If you bring home plastic, make a point to reuse it as many times as possible.
Gradually replace worn out plastic containers with glass or metal. Donít continue to hold onto plastic that is degraded or scratched. Recycle the plastic containers.
Considering the environment when you store and pack food will reduce waste, save energy and benefit your health. It's a win, win, win situation.
Organic Authority: Food Storage
U.N. Report on Plastic in Oceans