Good habits form early in life, and as an environmentally aware parent, you are probably always looking for ways to educate your children about the need to “reduce, reuse and recycle”. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to plan for litterless lunches and snacks that produce no garbage other than, say, an apple core that can be brought back home and composted. Food containers are also brought back home, washed, and reused for the next day, producing no litter for your school or workplace.
While your first thought may be to turn to your stash of plastic containers passed down from your mother’s kitchen to yours, think again. Plastic containers may work well to replace the litter created by plastic wrap and sandwich bags, but stainless steel is a much better and more eco-friendly alternative with several important advantages over plastic or even glass, especially when it comes to food storage and food safety.
- Plastics can leach harmful chemicals into your food. Stainless steel is safe, non-toxic and non-reactive to even acidic foods (such as tomatoes). The safety and health of your family may be the most important reason you switch to stainless steel food storage.
- Stainless steel is, well, stainless. Your plastic containers will discolour and stain with use. While steel can scratch, it will always look clean if it is well cleaned.
- Steel does not break. Perhaps your stainless steel container may dent if dropped on a hard surface, but it will not shatter or chip the way glass can, or crack the way plastic might.
- Steel is a very hygienic material. Steel is not a hospitable environment for harbouring or encouraging the growth of bacteria. It will also not transfer odours, which is a common complaint about plastic containers.
- Stainless steel food containers can be airtight and leak-proof. Using locking clips and silicone seals similar to those found in plastic or glass containers, some stainless steel containers are also airtight and leak-proof, perfect for transporting yogurt, salsa or dip.
- Steel is durable and long-lasting. While steel containers can cost two or three times more than comparable plastic ones, given how stain-resistant, hygienic and unbreakable they are, they will easily outlast your plastic containers proving that the initial investment was well worth the money. And as an added bonus, you know they will be safe to pass down to your children!
- Steel is highly recyclable. Steel is a very sustainable material and the products you purchase will most likely have at least 75% recycled scrap steel content. And if you decide for some reason that you do not want the product anymore, it can be endlessly recycled. In contrast, most plastic food storage containers are not accepted into municipal recycling programs.
So start replacing your old plastic containers with stainless steel food storage containers. You will feel better about helping to preserve the health of our planet if you are also helping to preserve the health of your family.