Best Eco-Friendly Storage Containers
I have been meal prepping for years, and I have concluded that having eco-friendly storage containers is a must for a sustainable plant-based lifestyle.
As a food blogger, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is what meal prep containers I love to use the most. The truth is, I like different options for select purposes, and I’m going to tell you all about my favorite eco-friendly food containers.
When choosing meal prep containers, I like to consider three important criteria:
- Are they durable?
- Are they eco-friendly?
- Will they make my food last?
No one wants to spend their weekend doing meal prep, only to find that the container leaked on the way to work, or the seal malfunctioned and did not keep the food fresh. Which is why a quality meal prep storage container is a must!
Moreover, plant-based living and sustainability go hand-in-hand. Many people go vegan to make a more conscientious choice for the planet, but there are other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
It may not seem obvious, but using durable food containers made from eco-friendly materials is a huge step towards sustainable living!
Why I Switched to Eco-Friendly Storage Containers
- Plastic containers may contain potentially harmful chemicals that can leach into your food, especially if the container is old and begins to deteriorate.
- Many plastic containers are not suitable for microwave or dishwasher use.
- Plastic containers deteriorate faster when used to store food and exposed to temperature changes.
- From my personal experience I can attest that glass containers keep food fresher for longer while also being a lot easier to clean.
- Non-plastic options such as stainless steel and glass are a lot more durable. I would find plastic Some of my glass containers (like simple mason jars!) I’ve now had for years.
- By now, we’ve all heard about the devastating impact plastic is having on the environment. That’s why I decided going forward I was only going to invest in eco-friendly storage containers so that my future purchases don’t end up in a landfill.
Glass containers are an excellent environmentally-friendly option for food storage and meal prep. Myself, I adore Snapware glass containers. They come in different shapes and sizes, and can be used in so many ways!
Benefits of Glass Containers
- Unlike plastic, glass containers do not stain from foods rich in spices (such as curry) or vibrant ingredients (such as tomato sauce). As someone who loves a Thai red curry, this made my life so much easier!
- If you treat them with care, glass containers will last you a lifetime.
- Snapware containers are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer-safe. Glass containers made from tempered glass may also be oven-safe, which makes it so easy to cook and store food!
- I have used various types of containers over the years, and in my experience, glass is best for keeping your foods fresh.
- You can see exactly what you’ve got in your fridge! This can be incredibly helpful in reducing food waste, since you’ll be less likely to forget about an ingredient or a meal when you can see it in all its glory.
Stainless steel bento boxes are perfect for commuters who go to work or school. You can use them to store simple lunches and snack items. This is one of the most environmentally friendly options for storing your food.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Containers
- Stainless steel food containers come in so many shapes and sizes! From tiny containers you can use for nuts and seeds, to larger bento boxes, suitable for sandwiches and wraps.
- They are super-easy to clean! Dishwasher-friendly and low-maintenance!
- Being made from stainless steel, these bento boxes are durable and resistant to corrosion.
- Stainless steel containers are lightweight compared to glass or ceramic options, while at the same time more environmentally-friendly than plastic.
- Metal bento boxes (like the one linked above) often come in a 2- or 3-tier stack, allowing you to easily transport several meals, or snacks that should be kept separate.
- While looks may not be a priority when it comes to sustainability, I don’t think there is anything wrong with trying to add a certain aesthetic into your life. And these stainless steel containers look both chic and smart.
An excellent option for meal prep as well as dry food storage are glass containers with airtight bamboo lids. Glass and bamboo bento containers come in a variety of sizes, perfect for meal prep items, as well as storing separate ingredients.
Benefits of Bamboo Food Containers
- Bamboo is one of the best renewable materials due to its organic nature and fast growth. It’s also easy to process, which means it doesn’t take too much energy to produce bamboo products.
- On my favorite containers with bamboo lids, the lids can also double as a cutting board which can come in handy at times if it’s ever needed.
- The airtight seal around the edge of the bamboo lid will keep your food fresh and vibrant.
- Bamboo adjusts to different temperatures and levels of humidity, which means the lid won’t suddenly stop fitting the container!
- From rectangular bento containers to jars and bottles, glass and bamboo is a match made in heaven. And it has a pleasing aesthetic that fits within any home!
- In addition to being an excellent meal prep container, these boxes are an excellent eco-friendly storage solution for pantry staples like pasta, rice, nuts and seeds.
Speaking of meal prep, if you’re looking to make shopping and cooking as easy as possible, try the PlantYou Planner. It’s a fully plant-based interactive meal planner app that allows you to customize your menu and reduce unnecessary waste. And if that weren’t amazing enough already, the planner provides you with a tailored shopping list based on your selection!
I love, love, love mason jars! Personally, this is my preferred option for jams, smoothies, oats, salads, sauces, soups, and dressings! I’ve tried other containers, but when it comes to storing liquids, none measure up to mason jars.
Benefits of Mason Jars
- They are so perfectly versatile! In my household, we use mason jars every single day, which is why I have a whole set of them.
- You never have to worry about leaks! Whether you use metal twist lids, clip-on glass lids, or hinge lids, you can store just about anything in mason jars. I love using them for items like salad dressings, dips, desserts, and even soups!
- Jars are great for creating layers! You can enjoy a beautiful dessert, a galaxy smoothie, or a jar salad… It’s a perfect storage solution, and it looks amazing.
- In addition to meal prep, mason jars can help you keep produce fresh for longer, as well as being used for storing pantry items.
- Glass jars are a perfect vessel for fermentation and pickling! Whether you’re making pickled onions, a sourdough starter, or homemade apple cider vinegar… Nothing beats a mason jar!
If you’ve been following PlantYou for a little while, you know that I am obsessed with soups and stews, especially in the colder time of the year. These Corningware mugs that come with a vented lid are absolutely perfect for bringing soups, stews, curries and chilis to work with you.
Benefits of Corningware Meal Mugs
- The lids have a ventilation system so you can pop them in the microwave without worrying about spillage (been there).
- Better yet, the lids seal so perfectly on these mugs that you never have to be concerned about leakage.
- While the primary use for these meal mugs (at least for me) are soups and stews, you can store and transport any type of meal in them!
- What I love most about these vented soup mugs, is that they are a perfect portion size! I prefer to have a few Cornwall mugs, which allows me to split my soup or stew into servings once it’s ready. Ideal for meal prep!
These silicone bags are 100% reusable, which means you will no longer have to buy plastic freezer bags or single-use pouches for snacks and sandwiches each week. These bags are the rockstar or the food storage world.
Benefits of Reusable Silicone Bags
- Once they are empty, they take up very little space! Unlike glass, ceramic, or metal containers, these are perfect for people who love to travel light.
- Silicone is an amazing material that can withstand high and low temperatures. You can use these bags both to microwave and to freeze foods. Much better than regular ziplock bags, and way more eco-friendly!
- My favorite reusable silicone bags come in many sizes suitable for snacks, sandwiches, or large meal batches. Plus, they are microwave-, dishwasher- and freezer-safe.
- Another great quality of silicone, especially compared to plastic, is that it maintains the flavor of the food without any strange aftertaste.
How to Transition to Eco-Friendly Storage Containers
- Take your time! There is no point in spending huge amounts of money to immediately replace everything you have in your kitchen.
- Once you find something that works for you, stick with it. You don’t have to have all the options, you just have to have the best option for you.
- Don’t throw away your plastic containers! Just because you’re no longer using them for food, doesn’t mean they should end up in landfill. Use them for non-edible items like jewellery, stationery, woodworking and other hobby items.
- You don’t have to buy brand-new items. You can wash and reuse jars from store-bought items, and in some cases, you may be able to thrift sustainable meal prop containers.
By considering these options, I believe you’re set up for success!
If you’re looking for simple and delicious vegan recipe ideas, check out the PlantYou Cookbook! As well as featuring 140+ unique plant-based recipes, this cookbook has basic cooking and prep tips, a sample shopping list, and a guide to oil-free cooking. Additionally, each recipe is accompanied by a visual aid outlining all the ingredients. Perfect for visual learners!
Please note that this article includes amazon affiliate links.