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Apr 22, 2007 10:46 PM

Earth-friendly stuff ???

What are items in your kitchen or use for food?

In another thread a water filter and a nalgene water bottle were mentioned.

On one of the morning shows on Friday there were water bottles with filters in them and another lightweight aluminum water bottle.

Are some plastic food container better for the environment than others. As far as these, I'm just holding onto the current plasticware and not buying new. However, should I have a need, which would be the best in terms of the environment.

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  1. Don't know if I can answer your question about plastics specifically. It may depend on what's recyclable in your area. But, to take a cue from the green building folks, anything that's more durable is better for the environment. As the saying goes, "use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

    Also, teflon-coated cookware is bad for the environment, so I consider my cast-iron pans to be a good green choice.

    14 Replies
    1. re: kerdragon

      also use abundant washable kitchen towels rather instead of paper towels when possible, (& use green laundry soap), glass or crockery containers instead of tupperware, teflon free cookware, buy in bulk & bring your own bags to the store to cut down on food packaging,

      make your own nontoxic kitchen cleaner: 1 cup water, 1/4 cup cheap white vinegar, 1/2 tsp dish soap-- spray bottle-- cuts grease and safe for food prep areas & cheap.

      i've said it in other threads, but i like the glass food storage containers sold for $$$ at williams-sonoma and for $ at IKEA-- they keep food fresher and you can see what's in there, they are modular and stack in the fridge so are very space-efficient & keep me organized. they also outlast plasticware by 5X and still going-- like a lot of things an initial investment, then don't have to think about it for a long time-- i'd highly rec them instead of most plasticware

      1. re: soupkitten

        The water bottles I saw on TV were made of lightweight aluminum. Does anyone know if there are aluminum or lightweight metal food containers. Glass is fine for home, but taking it to work ... it's heavy and subject to breaking.

        1. re: rworange

          oh i get it. i don't know if this link will help but it might

          1. re: soupkitten

            Soupkitten, I'm not sure which product in particular you are linking to, but I want to advise against the laptop lunchboxes unless you are packing a lunch for a child daily and have lots of extra time to wash the components every day and shape your child's food so it fits perfectly into the laptop lunchkit "containers."

            I really wanted to like these laptop lunch boxes to take my lunch to work in because I thought they'd be earth friendly. Though great in concept, they are truly for child-sized portions only and are very rigid in terms of how they can be used. Furthermore, the little boxes that fit into the compartments are not interchangeable and only fit into their slots one particular way (and if you get it wrong, everything leaks) and are only sold as part of a kit. You can't buy the little inside containers individually--if you want, say several of one particular "shape" that you use all the time-- which is really a pain if you pack a lunch daily but don't do dishes daily (it usually takes 2 days for us to build up a full load for the dishwasher at my house). You have to buy 2-3 sets per person you pack a lunch for so you can rotate them through your dishwasher. The lids warp easily, and eventually leak. The water bottle that comes with the kit also leaks.

            I tried, earnestly, to use these to transport my lunch to the office for about a month and finally gave up, and eventually resorted to my plain old tupperware type containers. It's not a product for adults on the go.

            I do like to use these "wrap-n-mats" in lieu of sandwich baggies. They are also great for packing things that aren't saucey, like carrot sticks or apple slices and such. Even for mixed salad greens before you've dressed them. I have several of them and throw them in a lingerie bag (so the velcro doesn't snag) in my laundry to wash them, though, you can just as easily wash them out by hand in your kitchen sink (they dry overnight.)


            EDIT: very important--do not microwave the wrap-n-mats!

            Also, don't forget cloth napkins and to bring flatware from home rather than using disposable...


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              good to know DQ-- i don't use these products, i make lunch at work but some folks i know love them. i did see that the company had some non-plastic bottle-things and i thought that might help out the op. other people might have experience with products they themselves have schlepped back & forth to work that will be more helpful. i want to try those "wrap-n-mats" now though!

          2. re: rworange

            You can find aluminum lunchboxes here:
            Of course, the disadvantage of aluminum is that you can't microwave it.

          3. re: soupkitten

            Can you freeze them? I need a good non-plastic alternative for freezing homemade tomato sauce, pesto etc..

            1. re: soupkitten

              I'm interested in glass containers, too, and friends have suggested the ones with plastic lids by Pyrex and by Martha Stewart at KMart. They also have glass containers at Crate & Barrel.

              1. re: Mawrter

                I've tried the Pyrex ones. They are heavy (for carrying your lunch to and from work) and not that convenient because they are odd sizes and you have to pack them so carefully (so as not to break them). The lids warp, which means everything leaks. They are probably fine for storing leftovers in your fridge, but I have found them unacceptable for taking my lunch in on a daily basis.


                  1. re: rworange

                    You are correct--you can't recycle Pyrex. But, it's better for the earth, theoretically, to find something that you can re-use many times, if possible, than something you use once, then recycle. Recycling is good--better than throwing away--but re-using is better. The good thing about Pyrex is that it's something you can use for a very long time because it's durable, and you can bake in it, microwave in it and store food in it.


                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I like the Pyrex glass containers very much. My husband takes his lunch in them every day - they do need to stay upright more than a plastic to avoid leaking. We buy them in just a few sizes at the Corning outlet in Vacaville (Ca) so they are uniform and stack in a drawer. We also get replacement lids there.

                  3. re: Mawrter

                    i do like the ones with GLASS, not plastic lids, for home food storage--not for work lunch--though. i wouldn't get plastic lidded ones because the lid will wear out or warp before the rest of the vessel, which means you have to buy a new one anyway. the ones at IKEA stack nicely-- a boon for rotating leftovers and organizing prep.

                    if i can add another possibly unhelpful suggestion for the op-- if you're still looking for truly durable, lightweight plasticware for carrying your lunch to and fro, maybe you should consider storage containers from a restaurant supply store. look for the brand name "cambro"-- the tupperware of restaurants everywhere. you can buy sizes with lids all the way down to a few ounces. these products last for years in commercial kitchens so probably a couple of decades of daily home use. they don't warp unless accidently left on a hot burner. they are practically indestructable and their lids actually seal for years. possible option??

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      If you live in a larger city with an Asian population then try the stainless steel stackable containers you can get in most Indian stores. They come with a clamp that keeps them shut and leek proof and cost very little.