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Jul 3, 2008 07:50 AM

SAFE?! portable storage containers

Hi, I am looking for the best portable storage containers, like for taking lunch to work in, the glad or ziplock disposable ones pose a health risk when it comes to microwaving and durability isn't all that great, I find I have to replace them once a month or so...anyone have an eco-friendly, human safe product they like?

Thanks in advance...

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  1. Pyrex makes small "Pyrex Containers", I have two, they hold about 20 oz, with a pyrex cover. They are heavier than disposables and they will break if dropped.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      I have Pyrex ones, too, and they are great. The containers are glass, (I think, in any event, not plastic), the covers are plastic, with a vent hole you open for microwaving. The food doesn't have to come into contact with the cover. They come in different sizes and shapes. I have a 5 cup, 3 and 2/3(?) cup, and something smaller.

      Another option is a Zojirushi Mr. Bento lunch jar. These are stacked plastic (unfortunately) containers (3 or 4) that nestle inside an insulated container with a strap or carry bag. The idea is that you put hot food in some of them and they stay hot until lunch, hence no need to microwave. Meanwhile the top containers can hold cold food and they stay cold. They were made for Japanese workers to take soup, rice, probably pickles or other food to work. I love them, but they're not ideal if you want to microwave and don't want plastic. They sell them in big Asian markets, but you can also buy (and look at them, there are different models) on amazon.

    2. I know this isn't exactly what you're asking, but the Ziploc brand containers I have (the newer ones, with the screw-on lids) are supposed to be microwave safe. They are also made out of plastic with the recycling code "5" (you can check for the recycling code on the bottom of plastic ware inside the recycling triangle symbol), which is generally considered a "safe" plastic. I suppose it all depends on how paranoid you want to be about what future discoveries we will make about the nature of plastics. My current approach is that I'll use "safe" plastics for short term storage (like sending in my kids lunches) but be more careful and use pyrex for long-term storage (like leftovers in the fridge which may stick around 4-7 days). I figure the possibility of my kids breaking the glass and cutting themselves badly poses a greater risk than the as-of-yet-unknown danger in the "safe" plastics (codes 1, 2, 4, and 5). With an adult, perhaps it's less of an issue.

      The real concern lately (BPAs) has been about plastics with the recycling code "7". If you have a look, it's on a whole lot of your prepared food containers, but probably not so much plastic storage ware. I have yet to discover a plastic dish or tupperware in my kitchen, personally, that falls in the "unsafe" category, but a lot of my prepared food containers do...

      1. I agree with the glass container recommendations! Easy to wash and reuse, perfect for baking (double duty is always a plus), and microwavable.

        1 Reply
        1. Thanks everybody, looks like pyrex is the choice...


          1. I'm back working out of my home office but when I worked downtown, I used public transportation and carrying glass wasn't an option. Too heavy, a breakage risk, and they frequently leaked. I hated eating out of them too.
            I kept a set of dishes and flatware at the office. My own coffee mug, a decent sized soup bowl, a smaller sized plate and an all purpose really large pasta plate similar (and cheaper) to this one but mine was flatter. It could hold a huge lunch salad with some kind of protein added or leftover from the previous night supper.
            I carried lunch in a plastic container and microwaved the food in/on the real plates - NOT in the plastic.
            The problem with plastics leaching is not when the food is cold, but when it is heated in the MW. Avoid plastic with a number 7 in the triangle on the bottom of the container. The safer numbers are 1, 2, and 5. You can store foods at home in glass and transfer them to plastic for the short trip to the office and short term storage until lunchtime.
            You won't die in a few hours.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MakingSense

              Good info. I've been giving people info about glass containers and didn't think about your public transportation dilemma. Thanks for sharing.