Graphic courtesy of ESP.
Green Week continues with food storage. Just last week I made the switch from plastic storage to all glass storage. I still have a few packs of BPA-free plastic containers for when I am sending someone home with leftovers, and do not want to worry about getting the glass back, and also some plastic bags, although I’m much more aware of how often I use them, and will reuse them if possible. Other than that, there is only glass and stainless steel for food storage in my kitchen.
Making your food storage green is about reducing both the chemicals, and waste. Here are five ways to make your food storage green.
Get rid of BPA. It was after reading several articles on plastics, and BPA’s I finally decided to make changes. These statistics in a NY Times article stuck with me: “A study of over 2,000 people found that more than 90 percent of them had BPA in their urine.” The chemicals in plastics leak out easily and in amounts high enough to be detected in our urine? Yikes!
What is BPA exactly? BPA is a chemical compound that mimics estrogen. No surprise some of the dangers associated with BPA are related to hormone disruptions, miscarriages, abnormalities in metabolism, diabetes, and early onset of puberty. Earlier this year, BPA was banned in baby bottles and zippy cups, a step in the right direction, but it is still present in plastic bottles, containers, and many other clear plastic goods. Manufacturers are not required to label if they use BPA, but most will label if they do not. Read more about BPA why you want to avoid it on Safemama.com and ESP.
Store food in glass containers. I used almost all, if not all, BPA-free plastics in my house, but since our food can be contaminated from plastics so easily, I wanted to make the switch to make sure no other chemicals would show up in our food. I switched to glass and some stainless steel. Both are so beautiful in the kitchen. They are so sleek, clean, and make everything look so much more organized. I’m far from OCD, but since making the switch you would think differently. I’m now obsessed with having everything stacked and lined up perfectly in the refrigerator. Hopefully this last longer than the one week my organized closet last after a closet clean out. ;)
Glass is more expensive than plastics, but they will last longer, look nicer, most double as oven-safe baking dishes, and there are no concerns about what chemicals are contaminating the food. My favorite glass containers to use:
- Anchor Hocking Set (10 piece set) – I recently purchased two sets of these to replace my plastic storage…LOVE it! The sizes included in the set are perfect for everyday storage. This set is freezer-safe, and the glass is also microwave and oven-safe.
- Mason Jars – these are ol’ faithful in my house. I use mason jars for food storage, to drink out of, freezer food storage, gifting, and about one hundred other ways. Not all lids on mason jars are BPA-free, but you can BPA-free lids online and in some stores.
- Crate and Barrel glass bowls – these have been a great plastic bag saver for me. They are perfect for storing chopped vegetables and fruits, leftovers and sauces. They are also the perfect little ice cream or cereal bowl for anyone looking for portion control.
Reduce all plastics and papers in the kitchen. Think of all the unnecessary waste the average American home uses every week – plastic bags from the grocery store, ziplock bags, plastic water bottles, paper plates, napkins, paper towels, I’ll stop there, but you get the point. If we all make a commitment to reduce in just a couple areas, we would all be better off. Make the switch the reusable grocery bags, and produce bags, avoid paper plates, filter your own tap water, or buy gallons instead of 16 oz. bottles to reduce plastic bottles.
Buy in bulk when possible. Buying in bulk does not always save money, but it will reduce packaging and waste. Check for bulk bins in your local grocery store or health market, wholesale retailers, and also online.
Find ways to use food before is spoils. How often do you throw away fruits, vegetables, and leftovers because they spoil? Most produce and leftovers can be frozen and saved for later date so it doesn’t go to waste. Here is a great article with lots of helpful information on freezing fruits and vegetables from Allrecipes.com. Leftovers would make a perfect lunch the following day, just pack it up in one of your new glass containers and it’s ready to go the next day, or put it in the freezer to use another week. Canning, juicing, and blending are all excellent ways to use up produce before it spoils. A simple way to prevent spoilage is rinsing produce with 10 parts water to one part vinegar. Fill your sink with that solution when you come home from the grocery store, rinse everything, and it will be sure to last you the maximum time!
Small steps will make a significant difference in getting your food storage and the rest of your kitchen green. Hope this week is inspiring you to make some changes!
Remember to enter the giveaway from ESP, and use code “GREEN1” to get 10% off any order, and all orders over $50 receive free shipping.