Plastic Free July – Part 3: Glass Food Storage

Glass Food Storage Containers

This is another one of those things that doesn’t exactly have a direct, 1 to 1 replacement. There are a lot of different ways to use glass containers instead of plastic, but most of those are for replacing plastic that is already reusable. Initially, when I went looking for these, it was with a specific purpose in mind.

We used to get ground beef from someone we knew that raised cows. It was great because we could get it in a 1/4 of the whole cow instead of a whole or half that most people that raise and butcher cows allow. The last time we did this though, we realized we really don’t eat enough to use it all up before it starts to show signs of freezer burn. And we were eating less and less as time goes on.

The convenience of having those 1 pound packages wrapped in freezer paper in my freezer at all times was an amazing thing, though. The problem is that getting meat from the grocery store meant that I’d have to either freeze it in the packaging it came in or package it myself. The store packaging was either a plastic wrapped foam tray or a very lightly wrapped bundle in butcher paper. The first option isn’t something I like to do. The second, is better but still not ideal. The way I’d have stored it in the past would be wrapped in plastic wrap for one layer and then an additional layer of foil. Again, not the option I want if I’m trying to reduce plastic.

When I was looking for alternatives to plastic zipper bags, I ran across people talking about using glass. There were other options, like silicone bags, but I liked the idea of the glass because it seemed more versatile. I already have several large glass baking dishes, but the idea of the smaller sizes opened the door for a lot of different uses.

So far, I’ve used these for freezing ground meats with really great results. These, and many others similar to these, have a silicone band under a plastic snap on lid (yes, it is still plastic, but if cared for well, should last for a really long time) that creates a seal between the glass and the lid.

Glass Food Storage Containers - Silicone Seal
Glass Food Storage Containers – Silicone Seal

I’ve also used them to to store and freeze deli meats (worked better than I expected) and a couple of other things that I’m leaving in for a while to see how well they do over longer periods of time. I do think they have a slightly shorter freezer life in these than if they were in plastic wrapped packages or plastic bags, but I’m not certain yet by how much. Wrapping things inside something like parchment paper (biodegradable) before putting into the glass containers may be able to add some time to that number, though.

Outside of the freezer, these can be used in a huge number of ways. In the refrigerator, oven, microwave (minus the lid for oven and microwave) and to seal off just about anything you need to store. The fact that there are so many different sizes and shapes when it comes to glass containers, the sky is kind of the limit. These particular containers are geared for food prepping and say they are 34 ounce volume (assuming liquid). They are slightly on the large size for what my Hubby uses for his lunch leftovers, but will be in the mix for him to use as they still fit in a lunchbox.

Plastic Alternative/Replacement:
Some common plastic zipper bag uses as well as some plastic wrap. Excellent replacement for any reusable plastic storage as well.

Pros:

  • Eliminates some plastic wrap/bag use
  • Reusable
  • Microwave, Oven, Freezer, Dishwasher Safe (minus lids on all except freezer and storage)
  • Liquid tight seal
  • Comes in a variety of size options for versatility
  • Potential long lifespan

Cons:

  • Is not a 1 to 1 replacement for any single use plastic. You will need other alternatives for other types of uses.
  • These are glass, therefore breakable, but not easily (most have good warranties against breakage)
  • You are limited on using and cleaning the lids because of both the plastic and the silicone.
  • Most recommend hand washing the lid because of the silicone seal (even needing to remove the seal to dry)
  • Some recommend keeping a layer of plastic between the seal and glass (have only seen this on one type so far) when not in use.
  • Physical space needed to store when not in use
  • Plastic lids
  • Potentially shorter freezer life for foods
  • Cost

So far, these have been some of my favorite alternatives because they are so versatile. I have a different set that I’m in the process of testing as a potential replacement option for frozen microwave dinners (post coming soon on that). While cost on these will be a concern for some, if they are well maintained and cared for, they should last for a very long time. I will say, I like the way these lids work better than others. That and the fact that they are plastic make the lids a weak point for me. Another upside is that lidded glassware like this is more likely to be readily available. Maybe not these specific ones, but others that would work just as well.

If I had one really harsh gripe on these at all, it would be that in all the sets I’ve purchased (3 small ones so far), every single one comes coated in a layer of plastic film and a massive amount of foam.

Author: TJ Fox

I am a slightly sane artist, amateur photographer, book addict, wife, mom and raging introvert. I have more hobbies than I can count, so it is beyond shocking that I manage to find time to do any of them, let alone most of them and still have time to do anything else. Of all the talents I claim, writing wasn’t one of them until my muse dropped the idea for a book on my head.

9 thoughts on “Plastic Free July – Part 3: Glass Food Storage”

  1. I am almost completely phased out of my plastic containers and I do like the Corning containers, yes they have a plastic lid and it isn’t water/liquid tight but I am not using them for freezing. I am looking into the silicone zipper bags. I do send my husband to work with leftovers that he can microwave and that was one of the big reasons I went for glass. It is impossible to get away from the packaging problem although I am always on the lookout at thrift/consignment stores. Even if I store things in better packaging for freezing it means throwing away the packaging the store uses. It is so frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Packaging is a huge frustration for me. Even more so that here in the US so few grocery stores (if any, there aren’t any where I live) allow you to bring your own containers in for things like the deli, meat or seafood sections. I do know there is an organic based store near me that has a lot of dry goods in bulk and you get the amount you want, but I don’t remember how you packaged it as it has been years since I’ve been (it isn’t all that close).

      Like

  2. One reason I keep some plastic containers around is because the kids lunch boxes are lighter to carry that way. The metal or glass containers are handier, for sure, for fridge and freezer storage, and more environmentally friendly, but if we make the effort to reuse the plastic baggies or containers (and we do) then I tend to not give myself too much grief.

    I found it really quite eye-opening each time I return from a standard grocery store at just how much plastic is used for almost every single item we purchase. It’s almost overwhelming. And I don’t mean the baggies we select ourselves, I mean all the packaging in general. We do our part, but I often ask myself, is it enough? When are the larger, mass-manufacturing places going to consider alternative ways to store, package and ship things?

    Posts like these at least get the word out more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still have a ton of reusable plastic containers we are still using. Like you, the kids have their containers for lunches and things. If I had younger kids, I’d be really uncomfortable with them using glass of any kind for any reason, so I think I’d still have some as long as it wasn’t disposable. I am trying to steer clear of the plastic when I need to microwave something, so that is one more reason I like these.

      I’ve done several switches on what and how I buy in an effort to try and cut down on the extra packaging. Getting meat from the meat counter at the store rather than the prepackaged meat is one. Trying to buy in bulk on some others. There just aren’t a whole lot of alternative options at this point, but I’m actively researching those options. I’m even looking into other stores that target more natural products to see if they have better, more viable options.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.