I’ll admit, I can’t keep up with all the studies and scare-tactics surrounding personal health and environmental impact, especially when it comes to food storage. I prefer glass to store food rather than plastic, but if you have plastic tupperware, I wouldn’t recycle it just yet!
My rule of thumb is simple. If foods are purchased that come in their own handy-dandy storage container, we keep the container, regardless of its chemical makeup. But we don’t purchase any plastic tupperware (though we’ve acquired some over the years from friendly leftovers.) I’ll admit, our “tupperware” drawers are filled with plastics, but almost all are plastics that were once something else– a container for hummus, yogurt, shredded parmesan, crème-fraîche (I worked really hard on getting those accent marks right!) I don’t put these containers in the dishwasher or microwave but I still don’t completely trust them. And I feel like I will seriously reconsider plastics if I ever have small children in the house.
But reusing plastics once they’re in the house seems as best an option as I have. And if a container won’t really work to use over and over, of course, we recycle! I’m proud of my roommates, our recycling bin is always fuller than our trash can!
I prefer glass for many reasons, but it comes with its own caveats. Most notably, it’s heavy. That means it was heavy to ship, meaning it takes more energy to get to you.
But if we are already purchasing products that come in their own glass jar, and reusing for years, I feel like we may just offset those shipping emissions. I keep all the salsa, pickle, tomato sauce, nut butter, and coconut oil jars and reuse for food storage. I’m not as worried about glass reaching high or low temperatures. It doesn’t take on the color or smell of the food as easily as plastics do (how many reddish plastic tupperware containers do you have in your house from storing spaghetti?) Even though you can use it probably for the rest of your life, if you do need to recycle a glass container (if you are me, you probably dropped it on the kitchen floor), you can rest assured that recycling glass is better than recycling plastic, with most glass being reclaimed instead of downcycled, like plastic.
Then there is the simple fact that glass is SO CUTE and CLASSY and storing my grains and dried goods looks so PINTERESTING and NEAT! I love jars so much I received a bunch of jars for Christmas. Oh, my loved ones know me so well!