They’re also eco-friendly!
Forget what your mom told you from her Tupperware club days — you don’t need to save every plastic container you encounter until the end of time. Especially if you can’t find the lid. While saving takeout containers and keeping Tupperware from years ago for some unpredictable scenario (that never happened) once seemed absolutely necessary, how many times have you used under of those items piled up in your cabinet? In the end, it only leaves you with mismatched lids, stained plastic ware, and an organizational nightmare.
Plus, it turns out old plastic food containers can release chemicals into the food or liquids inside them, which ends up inside us when we eat that food. A study from 2011 found that nearly all plastic containers (including BPA-free ones) tested positive for estrogenic activity, meaning they contained chemicals that either mimicked or antagonized naturally occurring estrogens in the body. These chemicals having estrogenic activity “can produce many health-related problems, such as early puberty in women, reduced sperm count, altered functions of reproductive organs, obesity, and increased rates of some breast, ovarian, testicular, and prostate cancers,” none of which we want.
While this all sounds scary, it’s entirely preventable. Well, you don’t have to start throwing out your leftovers. We’re all trying to save money these days — so, naturally, we welcome a two meals for the price of one scenario. But now that you’ve tossed your Tupperware, how can you do that?
When you’re storing away the remainder of tonight’s dinner or meal prepping for the upcoming week, consider using a container made from glass, silicone, or metal instead of plastic. Not only will it mean there are fewer chemicals that can get into your food, but sometimes it’ll keep your meals fresher for longer. Depending on the food, they might even taste better after some love in the fridge (controversial, but…day two mac ‘n cheese? Yes, please.)
Katie cooks a lot, and when she does, she certainly saves any leftovers. (Can you blame her? These dishes are drool-worthy!) One of Katie’s personal favorites for food storage, sustainable gift baskets, and more are these silicone bags from Stasher. Not only do they have a tight seal for spill-free storage and transport, but they can go in the freezer, and be boiled or heated up in the microwave. They come in clear, similar to their plastic counterparts, but you can also choose from a variety of fun colors and tie-dye options.
W&P Porter Pantry Bundle
Build the Instagram-worthy pantry of your dreams with this set. Not only does it come with silicone bags that stand up, but it also includes three glass bowls with silicone lids, and one is cute enough to carry your lunch in. Every piece in this bundle is plastic-free and microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, so clean-up and storage are a breeze.
Nope. We’re not ready to throw out the browning avocado just sliced open. These little silicone contraptions hug half-eaten avocados or freshly sliced citrus, cutting down on waste and ensuring they’ll be fresh enough for your next serving of avocado toast. While you can apply these directly to food (they’re stretchy, so they stay on by gripping whatever is in them), you can also use them as lids for cans or other cylindrical containers.
Even containers that nest within one another take up a lot of cabinet space, but what if you could collapse them all? Stojo took our organization’s dream and made it a reality. You may have heard of Stojo because they’re the makers of the famous collapsible coffee cup, and they’ve now ventured into storage boxes and bowls. Both are microwave and dishwasher safe, and although they’re not entirely plastic-free (the lids are rigid plastic), they are BPA- and BPS-free and can be recycled at the end of their lives.
From sandwiches to cookies, bowls to plates, beeswax wraps can cover just about anything. They’re made from non-toxic cotton and plant-based wax, which makes the material a bit stiff. But, with the heat of your hands, you can easily use them similarly to plastic wrap. You can fold it over itself to create a seal around leftovers, or you can drape it over a plate and press it to create a seal. They’re a go-to for Katie, who uses them for her own leftovers and gifts them to friends!
OXO Pop Containers
Bulky boxes and unreliable paper bags don’t only create an eyesore in the pantry, but they don’t keep things fresh. Vacuum-sealed containers remove some of the air from inside the storage piece, keeping food from going bad for a bit longer. We use these pop-top containers from OXO because they’re super easy to open and allow you to see their contents. Plus, they look pretty darn good lined up on a pantry shelf. Khloe Kardashian would approve.
Le Parfait Glass Jar
For a bit of a farmhouse vibe a la Joanna Gaines, consider storing dry goods in a glass jar. This one has a rubber seal to keep air out, but it also looks a bit fancier than the average screw-top jar. You could even use one of these babies to hold a premade salad, but it may be a bit heavy to carry around. If you like to meal prep, just imagine how many overnight oats you could make in this thing…the possibilities are endless.
Kamota Mason Jars
Ah, the humble Mason jar! While your parents probably used them for jams and canning, you know that they’re good for way more than that. Use these as a rustic glass for your iced coffee, small-scale dry good storage, or to organize spices — you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.
Talented Kitchen Magnetic Spice Jars
Those of us living in small apartments or homes know that cabinet and counter space is a precious commodity, so you’ve got to use it all wisely. Instead of dedicating a drawer or corner to your spices, why not hang them on the fridge? They’ll be easy to access, look neat, and you’ll gain some extra storage space in the process. This set comes with 12 jars and labels, and there are even some metal strips you can mount to a wall if you want to get creative and hang your jars there.
Evermill Spice Jars and Rack
We’ll be honest: This food storage solution is an investment. But, trust us: It’s well worth it. KCM editor Katie P. uses this aesthetically pleasing spice jar and rack set every single day. While you can use this as a freestanding rack, she mounted it to the wall above her oven, that way spices are there when she needs them and she doesn’t have to clutter up the one square foot of counter space she has in her apartment .