HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Glass vs. Plastic: Storage

So, I always use glass to store my stuff. This decision is largely based on mistrust of government, hearsay, and what my Mom did. Where better to find truth than on the Chowhound message boards?

- Do you generally store your stuff in glass or plastic?
- Do you fear that chemicals from plastic may leech into your food?
- Is it true that things heated and microwaved in plastic containers will get some chemicals?
- If drinks are left in the sun in plastic bottles, will they be contaminated?
- What is this "No BPA" business? It sounds like B.S. to me.
- Do chemicals from plastic cause cancer?

All things considered, and given the constant stream of lies that we're all fed about pretty much everything, I feel safer with glass.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yes
    Everything causes cancer. Depends on your genes.

    Glass is reusable. Plastic absorbs flavors. When going camping, do not refill cleaned and sanitized shampoo bottle with whiskey. Unbreakable and undrinkable.

    1. Personally, I have no problem storing food in plastic, in either the fridge or freezer. But for microwaving, I only use glass.

      1. My rules are simple. Things that will be re-heated go in glass. Likewise acidic things, like red sauces and vinaigrettes.

        I don't worry much about chemicals migrating from the container to my food because I only put cold non-acidic food in plastic. I also hand-wash my plastic.

        I've been treating my plastic this way for years just to extend it's life, and only recently did someone mention that it might, just might, be healthier.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DuffyH

          That's pretty much what I do. Today's plastic containers (or some of them) may be safe enough, and frankly I don't worry about the issue, but I have some glass containers so I use them.

        2. For pantry storage I use Ball glass jars in various sizes, and I buy separate plastic covers to use in place of the 2-piece lids that come with the jars. For freezer storage I use plastic containers or Ziploc freezer bags. I don't microwave or otherwise heat food in plastic.

          1. I recently switched all of my storage containers to glass. I also use only glass in the microwave. I try avoid anything that comes in a microwavable bag such as frozen veggies.

            I am with you in not trusting the government. How many things that they said were safe turned out not to be years later? Also my mom is big on not using plastic and more often than not she tends to be right :)

            1. :: What is this "No BPA" business? It sounds like B.S. to me. ::

              No one has specifically addressed this yet. The Japanese government has banned the use of BPA for years, based on research that found it associated with hormonal changes. The U.S. FDA banned it a year ago for use in pacifiers, baby bottles, and sippy cups ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/sci... ).

              It remains in use in the lids of canning jars, as a liner in many canned vegetables (esp. tomatoes), and in a good many plastic products. Some localities have wider bans.

              1. The only stuff I really store would be spices and leftovers. The rest stays in the original packaging.

                My spices are in the cool and dark of my pantry, in little glass jars. I tend to store leftovers in my late mom's huuuggeee collection of lidded Corningware (all sizes and shapes). I do this because I'm cheap.

                Do whatever you feel safe with.

                1. Plastic
                  Overall, no
                  Not getting in there
                  Age causes cancer.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    As Mom would say, "Brilliant minds think alike.:

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      <Age causes cancer.>

                      Personally, I think lab rats cause cancer. Or they're at least very, very prone to it.

                    2. Glass, metal, or porcelain only covered with plastic wrap. LOL. At least the wrap doesn't touch the food, but I know...the gases.

                      1. I use glass most of the time. I use mason jars and re use other jars that various foods were purchased in. I like glass for food storage in cupboard, fridge and I freeze in it. I like everything about it and consider it superior in every way to plastic.

                        I never reheat in plastic anything.
                        I still use plastic wrap on some things but would like to transition out of using it completely.

                        BPA risks are certainly there and it is not healthy. I believe in choosing your risk/health battles. I figure that I eat food at least three times per day, every day, for many more years to come
                        (God willin'). Minimizing plastics in my food is easy for me, so it doesn't make sense to me why I wouldn't.

                        1. If i have to microwave something in plastic I don't let it get more than lukewarm

                          1. Glass is my first choice. Yes. Not sure if it's true, but I still never microwave food on plastic. No clue. No BPA - what I've read points to icky danger factors with BPA - i check plastics for no bpa labels, however, I haven't given up cans (lined with BPA) yet. Who knows what causes cancer, but reproductive system and hormonal changes freak me out.

                            Also, I hate freezing my reusable plastic containers (which I still have many of) bc when they fall out of the freezer (inevitable) they crack into shards. Grrrrrr. I thought glass would be more fragile, but nope.

                            1. Plastic containers always feel slippery and greasy even after I've thoroughly washed them with detergent. To me they never feel clean. And pasta sauce not only makes the containers greasy but it can stain them too. I also hate the way plastic containers eventually turn brown or discolor with a few years of use.