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How To Avoid Plastic When Keeping Your Leftovers

Written by Fran

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Posted on April 17 2019

Got leftovers? While doing kitchen cleanup, it’s common to reach for a stash of Tupperware or other plastic containers, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap to deal with leftover food. While these materials work, they’re not great from an environmental standpoint.

Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for three or four days, or they can be frozen for three or four months. While they actually are safe indefinitely, frozen leftovers can lose moisture and flavor when they're stored for longer in the freezer. All leftovers should be covered and wrapped in airtight packaging or sealed in storage containers to keep the bacteria out, the moisture in and to prevent the leftovers from picking up odors from other food.

Plastic wrap and bags cannot be recycled, ending up in the trash and, eventually, the ground or ocean. Containers are known to leach hormone-disrupting chemicals into food. A better solution is to move away from plastic altogether and find alternative ways to store leftovers. There are plenty of options to avoid using plastic containers, glad wrap/cling wrap and zip-lock bags. From choosing plastic-free containers to freezing in glass (yes, it’s possible).

  

Simply cover your plate.


A new wave of leftover simplicity are lids that cover your own plates or bowls. Instead of moving the food from the plate to a container, you simply cover the  plate with this topper, which forms an airtight seal over the plate. The lids are dishwasher-safe, BPA-free and they take up much less room in a drawer or cabinet than a regular container.

 

Use Mason jars!


Mason jars are the beautifully simple solution when it comes to storage. Wide-mouth glass jars get a lot of love at home! They are indefinitely reusable, easy to clean and sterilize, good for refrigeration and freezing, and see-through for better monitoring of what needs to get eaten soon. Store cooked food or unused ingredients. Perfect for leftover soups.

 

 

 

Put it in stainless container.


Stainless is an alternative to glass and plastic containers, and is one that more and more people are choosing. While it cannot be used in the microwave, it’s still a great option for cold foods and is super durable. If you’re serious about ditching plastic, then invest in some stainless steel storage containers. You won’t regret the purchase, and you’ll use them all the time. The airtight nestable containers can store leftover soups and curries without leaking.

 

Wrap it in  used paper!


For items that don’t need as much protection, wrap in used brown paper bags that were used for bread for your mushrooms, avocadoes, potatoes, berries, dates, figs, pears, and strawberries. It helps to absorb excess moisture. Also remember, UPCYCLING is better than recycling!

 

Use cloth wrapping or cotton bags.


Many vegetables and fruit can be stored wrapped in a damp tea towel, instead of a plastic bag. It’s perfect for wrapping snacks, fruit, veggies,cheese, bread and even bowls. You can choose instead reusable cotton bags to store dry leftovers or pack lunches  for the next day. Bigger ones can accommodate breads,  cakes, and cookies.

 

Keep it fresh with beeswax wraps!


Organic cotton sheets covered in bee’s wax are an amazing and eco-friendly alternative to aluminum foil and cling film. You can use the food wrap to cover bowls and plates, wrap sandwiches or blocks cheese, or even fold it into a container for snacks. Each wrap should last several months, and if it gets soiled, simply hand wash it in cold water and allow it to air dry.

 

 

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