Living Large Tip of the Week: Throwing out Plastic Containers

School is in.

I don’t have to worry about packing kids’ lunch, but I wondered how parents pack lunches in safer and greener containers?

It isn’t like they have metal lunchboxes as many of us did.

42 percent of the world’s wood harvest goes to produce paper, making paper lunch sacks just not very environmentally friendly.

Dale carries his lunch in a small plastic cooler that’s probably over 20 years old now, but what about kids?

I found this website, EcoBags, which offers a wide variety of lunch bags and all kinds of totes (hint, for your grocery outings too!)

A year or so ago, close to the time we tossed the microwave, I also decided we were going to do away with plastic containers.

We went with the Pyrex glass (pictured above) and my husband did fine with them until last week when he did drop and break one at work while putting it into the fridge.

That also made me realize that glass containers aren’t a good option for small kids (and sometimes not for husbands), but this site, The Soft Landing, has all kinds of containers. Some are plastic, but they’re also BPA free. There’s also stainless steel containers on the site, something I will consider for Dale for his salads.

No reason now not to toss the plastic and go with greener and safer food containers.

Have you tried any of these products? Have you thrown away the plastic containers at your house?

You may also like...

32 Responses

  1. Sheryl says:

    The other night when I was washing our plastic containers by hand, my husband asked why we couldn’t put them in the dishwasher and I explained the BPA connection. He’s ready to toss all the plastic and replace them with glass.

  2. Margo says:

    I’m reusing glass jars for items purchased from the bulk bins at the grocery, stainless steel water bottle (Kleen Kanteen Reflect) and commuter mug for my coffee, and Pyrex for fridge storage. For lunches or on-the-go, I use a tiffin, a stainless steel snack tin, and cloth sandwich bags. (And if I’ve got something oily in them, they wash up so much easier than plastic!)

    I use the old plastic containers in the craft/sewing room and in the garage for sorting and storing the little things that tend to get away from me (safety pins, nuts, bolts, and the like).

    We hear a lot about the BPA, but there are more hormone disrupting chemicals besides BPA that can leach out of plastics. Unfortunately, the BPA-free label doesn’t mean safe.

    • Kerri says:

      Sounds like you got green storage under control at your house, Margo! I agree, there is lead and other chemicals in plastic as well.

  3. Frugal Kiwi says:

    I use glass as much as possible, but we do have some plastic still floating around. With the new chest fridge we have limited space, so it is easier to stick to glass and stonewear containers.

    • Kerri says:

      We still have some of our plastics in the back of the cabinet, too, Frugal. Really don’t know what to do with them. Hate to add them to the landfill!

  4. Betsy Marshall says:

    I find it more ecological to re-use the plastic containers that come with yogurt, sour cream, ect than to go out and buy specialty items. just have to remember which ones are original, and which have leftovers… YMMV. Betsy

    • Kerri says:

      That’s a great point, Betsy. We do that as well. Although we don’t use them for a long time. I’m afraid of all of those chemicals leeching.

  5. lori says:

    Good for you on clearing out the plastic. I was never big on plastic but did have some that I totally cleared out over a year ago.
    Glass, tin and cloth are what we use for everything.

    6 years ago my husband and I decided to make the move back to our ‘home state’ with the idea of living simpler lives with less. It’s been very difficult and STILL is a work in progress. I’m so glad that I found your site. Kudo’s to you for making it look so easy.

    I’m definately a new ‘follower’.

    • Kerri says:

      Ha, Lori, I’m glad I’ve made it *look* easy! It has been a process for us and one that I’m sure will continue for a long time to come. Afterall, life is a journey and all of that….Thanks for finding us. Glad to have you as a part of our community!

  6. Have you ever seen tiffin boxes? They’re made of tin usually and can be used for lunches.

  7. Jane Boursaw says:

    Ooh, I love that Eco Bags site. Such cool stuff over there. Thanks to http://www.Attainable-Sustainable.net, I’ve been working on my plastic water bottle habit. It’s definitely a work in progress, but I’m making changes. One small step, right?…

  8. I’m thinking I’m way too clumsy for glass, but will check out the new plastic based on your recommendation.

  9. PlanetBox is a great choice for kids. It’s an all-in-one lunch container. Tiffins or bento containers are becoming popular, too. For individual items, the LunchBot brand looks good, but I’ve not tried those.

  10. Alexandra says:

    Almost completely converted here. Last spring I found a great lunchbox for my granddaughter, Planetbox, I think it was called. Yes, here it is. She loves hers.http://www.planetbox.com/

  11. Heather L. says:

    These sites have some great ideas. I may just have to go on an Internet shopping trip.

  12. Kim says:

    I’m storing more and more in canning jars… the lids are interchangable, they wash easily, and they’re inexpensive if they get broken.

    However, we bought a Laptop Lunch a couple of years ago, and it’s very handy for meals and snacks on the go. I also love that it doesn’t have a princess or a superhero plastered on it; either of my kids can use it without complaint. BPA free and all that, too.

    • Kerri says:

      BPA free is the most important thing, Kim. I’ve learned a lot here from Alexandra. She writes of chemicals often on her blog.

  13. Olivia says:

    I use glass for most storage but for freezing sometimes plastic is the only or best option. Having a glass container break in the freezer is the pits – and dangerous. I do freeze some stuff – soups, jams, etc. in glass bottles – very carefully.

    I also use a vacuum storage system for meat and fish in the freezer to avoid freezer burn and wasted food. How does one put a whole turkey in a glass container?

    Mostly I just use common sense.

    • Kerri says:

      Good points, Olivia. Some things just cannot be stored in the freezer for example, in glass. I think the best option then would be the BPA and lead free plastic.

  14. mat says:

    We can’t seem to get away from plastic storage. We don’t microwave anything in it anymore, but it seems impossible to lose it completely. So I’ll look into that BPA-free stuff…thanks, Kerri.

    • Kerri says:

      It’s a step by step process, mat. I think it took us about a month and we just purchased a couple of pieces each week.

  15. Susan says:

    My kids are all grown with most having kids of their own now. They mostly bought their lunches.
    I have converted to mostly glass Pyrex, Corning and I bought a bunch of Ball jars to store and freeze in. I only have large pieces of Lock N Lock that I got from my mom, but hardly use them.
    I use a stainless steel http://www.kleankanteen.com/ or stainless mugs for carrying water in. Never buy bottle water unless I’m without .

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, I love the taste of cold water in stainless steel. There is something that makes it taste so refreshing, I think! Good idea!

  16. I have been slowly converting to glass. My college student tends to pack food in plastic bags. My middle schooler tends to buy lunch at school