Best Eco-friendly food storage containers for your kitchen

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Tired of throwing out food but don’t want to break the bank on fancy food storage containers? Here are some of the best eco-friendly food storage containers and ideas.

Glass jars for food storage.
Glass jars for food storage. Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers

Proper food storage is essential to reduce the amount of food you throw out. The USDA estimates that between 30 and 40% of the food supply in the USA is wasted. That’s a colossal amount of food waste, much of which can be avoided with proper food storage.

There are many food storage ideas to help you store all your leftovers – everything from leftover turkey to leftover mashed potatoes.

You’ll find fancy plastics to glass and even beeswax wraps and pouches. There are plenty of ways to store your leftovers safely. But what are the best picks if you’re looking for affordable solutions?

The following are some of the best eco-friendly food containers and why they’ve made this list.

Best eco-friendly food storage containers for leftover food

Reusable Food Storage Bags

  • Reusable food storage bags are a great alternative to disposable plastic sandwich bags. They can store various items, including sandwiches, dry foods, snacks while hiking, and leftover foods.
  • Reusable food storage bags are typically made of durable materials like silicone or cloth and can be washed and reused repeatedly.
  • Cloth bags or reusable silicone bags cost between $1 and $2 per bag, depending on the bag size.

Mason Jars 

  • Mason jars are a versatile and budget-friendly option for food storage. Use these glass jars to store dry goods, such as grains, nuts, and seeds.
  • They also keep liquids like soups, stews, and smoothies.
  • These jars come in a variety of sizes. They’re made of glass, a non-porous and safe material for food storage.
  • The older ones may come with glass lids. 
  • They are also easy to clean and can be reused repeatedly.
  • They’re often free. Buying jam, pasta sauces, tomato sauce and more in jars mean you can reuse the jars as glass storage containers.

Bamboo Lids Glass Containers

  • Bamboo-topped glass containers are a sustainable and budget-friendly option for food storage. The lids are made of bamboo fiber, a renewable resource and biodegradable.
  • Bamboo containers are durable and can be used to store all sorts of items, including sandwiches, snacks, and leftovers.
  • Glass storage jars with bamboo lids are also easy to clean and can be used in the microwave and dishwasher.
  • They are more expensive up front, but these glass food storage containers will last a lifetime with proper care and use.

Plastic Containers

  • Reuse sour cream, Cool Whip, margarine, and cream cheese containers to store your leftovers. When they’re empty, wash them and use them to pack up soups, stews, meatloaf, or whatever you’ve had for lunch or dinner. They’re also great for storing dry goods like ruby chocolate.
  • Write the name of the contents and the date on the top so you can quickly and easily identify what’s in them.
  • Regarding reusable food storage containers, you don’t get much more budget-friendly than these plastic containers.

Deli Containers

  • Available for low prices at restaurant supply stores or online, sleeves of 25, 50, or more deli containers in various sizes are affordable food storage options.
  • These plastic food containers are clear, so you can easily see the contents.
  • Deli containers can warp and melt in the microwave, so transfer the contents out of the container before reheating the contents.
  • These plastic products are eco-friendly food storage containers because they’re reusable when washed.

Take-Out Containers

  • Many restaurants have switched to packaging take-out in reusable plastic containers. They are often rectangular in size with black bottoms and clear plastic lids. They are perfect for packing up leftovers!
  • These containers stack nicely inside the fridge and the cupboard. 
  • They are recyclable; pop them into the recycling bin when you’re done with them.
  • They’re a great option instead of single-use plastics or plastic wrap.
  • Food containers are one of the four largest plastic pollutants in the oceans. Reusing and recycling them when you’re done keeps them out of landfills and the oceans.

Silicone Stretch Lids

Forget the container and use lids! Silicone stretch lids will fit bowls, pots, cups, casserole dishes and more. They have a silicone seal, so food stays extra fresh. Even better, you can pack your leftovers in reusable dishes and store them in the fridge. 

Other green food storage ideas

Glass jars on wooden shelves.
Reuse storebought pasta and jam jars for eco friendly storage solutions. Photo credit: Recipes From Leftovers.

Here are a few more environmentally friendly ways to store leftover food.

  • Wash and reuse single-use plastic bags
  • Stainless steel containers for long-term storage
  • Glass bowl with vegan food wraps to store fresh produce
  • Beeswax wraps to cover vegetables of different shapes
  • Reusable wax food wraps
  • Beeswax bags
  • Cotton storage bag (easy to sew)
  • Upcycled feed bag tote bag (from chicken feed)
  • Large water bottles (great for storing rice and lentils)
  • Wine bottles with cork toppers

What to Store in Eco-Friendly Food Storage Containers

Food storage containers aren’t ideal for leftovers but can be used for any number of consumables. From pantry staples like rice, flour, sugars, oatmeal, and spices to freezer jams, frozen soups, and tasty stews, preserving the freshness of your food will help reduce the amount of waste in your home.

You can also use these containers for non-edibles. They are perfect for organizing craft supplies, pet food, jewelry, things you want to keep dry while camping, and much more.

Don’t Forget the Labels

There’s nothing worse than opening your fridge to see a sea of food storage containers filled with mystery ingredients. You can use tape and a pen to label the top of your food storage containers to identify what’s inside, and by adding a date, you’ll know when the leftovers were added to the fridge.

Labels are especially helpful when freezing leftovers because once frozen, it becomes hard to tell what’s inside the container.

Food Storage Tips

Many foods are sensitive to high temperatures and can spoil or become unsafe to eat if stored at the wrong temperature. 

For example, perishable foods such as meat, dairy, and produce should be stored in the refrigerator to keep them fresh. Store food such as dry goods, including grains and legumes, in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Always follow the USDA guidelines for food storage. Among other things, the USDA recommends storing refrigerated food under 40°F and consuming most leftovers within three to four days. 

Save money with eco-friendly food storage

Using these eco friendly food storage options to save money and reduce waste. They are durable, affordable and in many cases free, and easy to use, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to save money on food storage.

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

Best Eco-friendly food storage containers for your kitchen

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