When spring cleaning and filling up your pantry with nourishing goodies, let’s take the time to consider the storage containers too! I’m sure you’ve heard of the guy BPA or bisphenol A - a toxic chemical used to make plastic hard. It can be found in the lining of some cans, bottles and food containers made from certain plastics and has been associated with a number of health issues. When heated or scratched the chemicals can seep into the food inside that container and are therefore digested into the body, Although research is still divided over whether long term exposure to BPA within our food poses significant health risks, it’s best to be cautious as lack of evidence is not evidence a product is safe.
When thinking about avoiding plastic all together, it can seem overwhelming and merely impossible to avoid all plastic containers. It may be a challenge to find alternatives when you think about all the products kept in your fridge, in plastic, at one time or another, such as milk, sauces and yoghurts, however, every effort counts! By looking for alternatives and doing our very best to limit our use of plastics is important and will help make a change. If you do plan on giving your pantry a clean out, throwing away the plastic with sustainable goodness, don’t forget to recycle it!
Not only is BPA not our friend, but neither is pollution! In fact, did you know that about 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950’s - the weight of roughly a billion elephants! Of this, only 9% has been recycled, 12% has been burned, and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfill or the environment. Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the oceans every year, with the equivalent of a truckload of plastic entering the oceans every 4 minutes! MIND BLOWN! If these facts don’t make us want to lower our use of plastic, I don’t know what will!
Recycled glass jars
Recycled glass jars are probably the handiest of all food storage options. You can re-use old ones from your nut butter or pasta sauce to store items such as baking ingredients, oats, tea bags, spices, nuts or protein balls. You can also make use of them for your lunches. Create a layered salad or fill it with your favourite curry or soup and off you go! The wonderful thing about jars is they come in all shapes and sizes, therefore, there is the perfect one out there no matter what the use may be!
Note: If you are using glass jars in the freezer, be sure to check it is freezer-safe, as some do not withstand freezing and will crack.
Stainless steel food storage
Whether it be for the kids lunchboxes or storage for your leftovers at home, stainless steel containers are a great alternative. They are lightweight and last forever, making them perfect for the kiddies to school in their backpacks every day. If you don’t have any of these in your household yet, be sure to keep an eye out for “food-grade” stainless steel when purchasing. Some brands actually line their containers with harmful chemicals such as BPA or are made of aluminium.
Reusable cloth bags and wraps
You may have seen us mention these a few times throughout our blog and Tip of the Week posts. You can find them in local markets or online and they make for a fabulous substitute to those good ole’ zip-lock bags or cling wrap! Made from cloth and beeswax, they are moldable and come in every shape and size under the sun, from sandwich wraps, to reusable drink pouches, whatever the need, there is one for you! You can use them to store cheese and crackers, veggie sticks, fruit and all other snacks on-the-go. The best thing about these little fellas is they’re SUPER easy to clean. Simply give them a quick wipe down on the inside and they’re ready to go for the next day. Most are also machine washable and dishwasher safe, just be sure to check the packaging to be certain.
I bet you’ve seen these trusty little guys within your boxes quite often! We use these for all sorts of dry goods and they are fantastic to keep and reuse within your household. They come with leak-proof lids and are perfect for fruit and nut mixes, on-the-go breakfasts (eg - chia puddings or yoghurt pots) or even leftovers! So make sure to keep a hold of them and make use of them wherever possible.