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Food companies are the top contributors to plastic waste. It makes sense — plastic is a cheap and easy way to preserve food. Unfortunately, it is also a cheap and easy way to  destroy our oceans and contribute to global warming. By avoiding plastic when we shop for food products and opting for alternatives when storing those products, we can do our part and show these companies that they need to make some serious adjustments to protect the health of the planet and all of its inhabitants.

Want to go plastic free in your kitchen, but don’t know where to start? Buying bulk at the grocery store but don’t know what to store it in? Check out this helpful guide for plastic-free food storage!

  1. Nuts, Beans, Grains, Pasta, Rice, & Other Dry Goods You’d Typically Keep in the Pantry
Nuts and Beans in the pantry

For these types of food products, glass jars and containers are the best option! They keep your dry goods nice and, well, dry and are nice and see-through so you can identify their contents quickly and easily.

For the goods that are too similar in appearance – like different flours or spices – it’s easy to add a label on the outside of the container. You can even add the cooking instructions for products such as pasta or rice, so you don’t forget how to prepare them.

  1. Leafy Greens
Lettuce

If your leafy greens are still intact as a plant with the stems still attached, then you can just place those stems in a glass jar filled with fresh water (like a flower bouquet!) in your refrigerator. Just make sure that you change out the water every few days to avoid rot.

If your greens have been removed from their stems or you simply don’t have enough room in your fridge for a bunch of bouquets, then you can loosely wrap them in a clean tea towel or paper towel and place them in a glass container. But don’t forget to wash and thoroughly dry them first! This will discourage rotting as well.

  1. Fruits & Vegetables
veggies

This one might seem obvious, but for many fruits, a fruit bowl or basket is the perfect place for storage. Generally speaking, if it grows on a tree, then it can go in the bowl (with the exception of melons and tomatoes) — so that means citrus, apples, bananas, most stone fruits, avocados, pineapples, etc. Then once they begin getting almost too ripe, you can place them in the fridge to slow down the process.

Only used half of your avocado or lemon? Place it face down on a plate to preserve its freshness or wrap the exposed part in a reusable soy wax wrap, then put it in the fridge so it doesn’t go bad.

For vegetables and other fruits that belong in the refrigerator, you can typically just place them directly in the crisper drawer! If they need to be wrapped or contained, you can use paper bags (perfect for berries), soy wax wraps (to wrap up your cabbage, cauliflower, artichoke, broccoli, etc.), or simple glass containers (for carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, celery, etc) to keep them nice and crunchy.

And lastly, for all those root vegetables that hate being in the fridge such as potatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, etc., a basic paper bag will do just fine. Just remember to store them in a dark and dry place with good air circulation to avoid sprouting (unless that’s what you’re aiming for!) and excess moisture.

  1. Bread
bread

This one also might seem obvious, but a bread box is really the way to go when storing bread. They are designed specifically to retain a bread’s natural moisture and prevent it from prematurely drying out.

Otherwise, you can wrap the bread in a fabric bag  or tea towel and store in a dark, cool place. By keeping it out of the fridge and letting it breathe a little, you can discourage your bread from quickly going stale or developing mold. And if you can’t finish it in time, these storage methods also work great in the freezer!

  1. General Leftovers

The absolute quickest and easiest way to store your leftovers is to just put another plate or bowl on top of the plate or bowl that has the food you want to save.

If you don’t have enough room in your fridge or don’t want to use all of your dishes for storage, you can use soy wax wrap or reusable silicone stretch lids in place of plastic cling wrap or just transfer your leftovers to a glass jar or container.

  1. Frozen Foods

Contrary to popular belief, you can use glass jars or containers to store your frozen foods! You should definitely take some precautions though: only use thick, durable glass, never fill the glass all the way to the top (especially with liquids), and wait until the food is almost completely frozen to screw on the lid, since it will expand.

If you’re too nervous to try glass, you can also freeze items in stainless steel containers or Stasher bags. Stasher bags are great because they are made of high quality, durable silicone rather than cheap plastic. They are not only freezer safe, but they are microwave safe, boil safe, and dishwasher safe too, making them great for defrosting and reheating frozen foods!

  1. On-the-Go
on the go water bottle

Want to take your food on-the-go? The options are basically endless.

For drinks, you can use a stainless steel thermos or water bottleceramic to-go mugs, or even plain ole’ Mason jars (just be careful not to drop them!).

For food, you can use glass containers or a stainless steel bento box, soy wax wraps, small cloth bags and Stasher bags, the classic paper bag or tin lunch box. And don’t forget to bring your reusable utensils!

Still confused about how to store a particular food item without using plastic?
Just Google it! There are plenty of great resources out there 🙂

Don’t know where to purchase Stasher bags or soy wax wraps? Find these products (and more!) at BuyChoice.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read? Here’s a little summary for ya..)
There are so many easy ways to store foods without plastic — a major cause of ocean destruction and global warming. While food companies’ use of plastic massively contributes to plastic waste in the world, you can be the one to choose differently! Start simple and small – choose one item that you often store with plastic and find a method above that works for you, then add another, and another. You got this!