Posted by Angela Tague, guest blogger
Last month the hubby and I completed some repairs in our kitchen, and did a thorough cleaning and restocking of our cabinets while we were at it. As we took inventory of our supplies, we decided to make eco-friendly food containers our main option for leftovers and packed lunches. Now we rarely reach for reusable sandwich bags or fill the recycle bin with old containers.
You can easily lessen the amount of waste you produce by making a few simple changes. Here’s how.
Glass food storage containers are reusable and convenient. They’re just one of the many eco-friendly food containers out there for you to choose from when packing up leftovers and lunches.
Eco-Friendly Food Storage Ideas
If you find yourself hauling bags of garbage out to the curb daily, think about how you can make these trips less frequently. One way is to opt for reusable food storage containers. They last for multiple uses, are sturdier than flimsy baggies or lightweight plastic, and cost less in the long run because you’re not buying new containers every week. Here are some options you’ll find in my kitchen:
I am in love with my glass bowls. Fitted with heavy-duty plastic lids, they’re color-coded and come in a variety of sizes so you will always have just what you need to store leftovers. You can also tuck these eco-friendly food containers into the freezer and, after removing the plastic lid, put them directly into the oven. They are so convenient.
You end up bringing home many containers from the store that you can use again before recycling. I tend to keep glass sauce and peanut butter jars in my pantry instead of placing these containers in the recycling bin right away. Consider using them to store and easily identify beans, rice, and quinoa through the glass. You can also wash and reuse baby food jars for small side items, such as dips.
Lately, I’ve been interested in learning how to make cloth sandwich bags. By using these, you don’t have to waste a plastic bag when portioning snacks out. I think these washable pouches are perfect for packing sandwiches or any dry foods, such as nuts, crackers, chips, or dried fruits. If you’re feeling crafty, you could sew them out of fabric to match a lunchbox.
How to Reuse Those Other Bags
So, how can you upcycle the other food storage containers from the grocery store that aren’t as durable? Give them new life when you do crafts or store non-foods! Here are a few ideas:
You don’t have to toss these bags out with the cardboard when they’re empty! The thick plastic is perfect for transporting wet bathing suits home from the pool or beach. Simply tuck the wet clothes inside, roll the top, and seal with a clip until you get home.
These long bags work great for packing shoes in backpacks or suitcases to keep dirt from getting on other items. Try it next time you pack sneakers for your child to change into during the day after wearing rain or snow boots.
Paper Fruit Bags
I often pick up overripe bananas (hello, banana bread!) and bags of apples in the produce department of my local grocery store. They’re usually in cute little paper bags with handles. These can easily be jazzed up with paint, stickers, or stamps and converted into gift bags to use for birthdays and holidays.
Because I don’t have a compost pile (maybe someday), I throw away the fruit and vegetable trimmings my dogs won’t (or shouldn’t) eat. But, I learned a neat trick from my grandmother that I still use today: When I have onion skins, broccoli stems, or other potent food waste, I tuck it into little bags or flimsy food containers that aren’t recyclable, and place them in the garbage this way. This keeps the odor contained so your garbage bin won’t smell horrible and attract hungry animals in the middle of the night.
How are you making your food storage more eco-friendly or reusing food storage items that would usually land in the waste can? Tell us on Twitter @TomsofMaine.
Image source: Angela Tague
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.