Plastic Food Storage Buying Guide
'You are what you eat' - this famous quote is incredibly wise! Eating fresh, nutritious food keeps you feeling active and healthy. This is why it is very important to store your food properly as well. Plastic food storage is a durable, safe and affordable way to store your food items.
Purpose of Plastic Food Storage
Good quality food storage is a must-have for every home. It helps keep your food fresh, nutritious for much longer and prevents it from rotting or getting contaminated. Plastic food storage is available widely online in a range of shapes, colors, and prices. You can use plastic containers to store your fruits, vegetables, spices, grains, snacks and so much more. These storage containers can be placed inside your fridge, on your shelves an cabinets or even on your countertops. There's a wide variety of quality plastic food storage available in supermarkets as well as online to choose from.
Types of Plastic Food Storage Materials
There are different types of plastics from which plastic food storage is made. Not all types of plastics can be used to store food - some can be toxic for food storage. Certain types of plastics, however, are specially formulated to be safe for storing food. Each type of food-grade plastic has different features and is used for storing and transporting different types of food. Let's read on about these types:
You may have already heard of PET jars and bottles. PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is a clear, tough and moisture-resistant plastic that is used for making plastic food storage containers. This plastic is listed as '1' in the recycling triangle symbol under your container. It's used for beverages like soft drinks, juices as well as peanut butter, salad dressing, and pickles.
Marked as '2' in the recycle triangle symbol, High-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is somewhat stiff and commonly used for making milk containers. This plastic is ideal for packaging food with a short shelf life, as it can break down over time. This plastic, while being food-grade, is not ideal for long-term food storage.
Marked as '4' in the recycled triangle symbol, low-density polyethylene or LDPE is used to package a wide variety of food items such as squeezable bottles for ketchup, mustard, and to make frozen food bags.
Polypropylene, or PP, is a tough plastic which could be stiff or flexible depending on its make. It is a widely used plastic and is used for packaging everything from medicine bottles, yogurt containers, and even refrigerator storage bins. It's marked as '5' in the recycling triangle symbol on your container.
Benefits of Plastic Food Storage
From keeping your food fresh to protecting it from contamination, good quality plastic food storage has a number of benefits to offer to your kitchen setup. They're durable, sturdy and affordable as well. Let's read more about how plastic food storage can help with your kitchen storage:
Keeps Food Fresh
Good quality plastic food storage can protect your food from moisture and keep it fresh for longer. You can use these food containers to store fresh food items like bread, fruits, and veggies.
Protects From Germs
Since most plastic food containers have airtight lids, they prevent germs from settling and growing on the food. This preserves the nutritional value of your food and prevents diseases and contamination.
Using large-sized plastic food containers help you store different food items together, which means more efficient utilization of your cabinet, shelf and fridge space.
Keeps Kitchen Organized
By storing food and drinks in plastic food storage, your kitchen stays neat and organized. It's an easy way to declutter your cooking space.
Having neat, uniform plastic food containers lined up on shelves and cabinets and in your pantry storage looks visually appealing! It enhances the elegance of your kitchen and prevents it from looking messy. You can go for food containers either transparent or in different colors.
Plastic food containers are a budget-friendly way of storing your food items as well. Most plastic food storage - be in containers, bottles, spice jars, etc - available at affordable prices without compromising on quality, vis a vis metal storage containers.
You can use your plastic food storage for storing a wide variety of food items - from fruits, veggies, spices, sauces, and packaged foods as well. You can use them as fridge containers, shelf storage, or even to carry your food while traveling in a portable fashion.
Tips For Buying Good Plastic Food Storage
While there is a wide variety of plastic food storage available in the market, there are some features you should look out for when shopping for them. This will ensure that you buy your plastic food storage with features that are the safest, most convenient and according to your needs:
Plastic food storage made with strong and durable food-grade plastic will last you for a long time and will store food and drink for month after month. Look for plastic food containers that are made with sturdy food-grade plastic that does not break down easily.
Good quality plastic food storage is airtight, which means that it shouldn't allow moisture or germs in the air to contaminate the food stored inside it. This prevents the growth of bacteria and mold/fungus on the food and prolongs their shelf life.
Safe and Chemical-Free
It is important to buy plastic food storage that is meant for contact with food. Look out for the triangle recycling symbol at the bottom of the container, and pick storage containers marked 1,2,4 or 5. these types of plastics are certified food-grade, which means they're meant for storing food items and are free of harmful chemicals.
Easy To Clean
Always pick plastic food storage in simple designs that are easy to clean. Complex and intricate carvings or designs on plastic food containers have the risk of food residue getting left behind on its corners and nooks, which could encourage the growth of germs and mold. This is why you should go for simple designs such as round, square or rectangle containers that are easy to clean.
Easy to Open and Close
Good plastic food storage should be easy to open and close so that there is no spillage every time you reach for the containers. Good quality plastic food containers come with a top lid design or snapware which is easy to snap the lid open and close.
Finally, your plastic food container should be spacious enough to accommodate the food items you plan to store in them. Go for bottles, jars, and containers of enough storage capacity for your household needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Plastic Food Storage
1. What plastic is safe for food storage?
While there is a wide variety of plastic containers available in the market, only a few types are suitable for food and drink storage. When you are shopping for plastic food storage, always lookout for a triangular recycling sign at the bottom of the container. Inside this symbol, you will find a number that symbolizes the type of plastic it is. When buying plastic food storage, only choose storage containers that have the number 1 (PET),2 (HDPE),4 (LDPE) or 5 (PP) written on them. These plastic food containers are food-grade and safe for storing food and rinks in them.
Avoid Plastics with number 3,6 and 7 written on them. Food containers with these numbers are not suitable for contact with food, since they may leach harmful chemicals during use.
2. How to organize plastic food containers?
There are a few simple tips you can keep in mind when shopping for plastic food containers which will help you organize them efficiently in your kitchen or pantry storage. Let's find out what these tips are:
Find stackable containers of similar dimensions
If you have plastic food storage with similar dimensions, this makes it extremely easy to stack them upon each other. Stacking is a great way to save space and to store more in a compact space.
Find containers that can nest within each other
Nesting food containers within each other applies the Russia doll principle - this means finding boxes where each box has a slightly smaller proportion but similar dimensions to each other. This way, you can place all these boxes inside each other when they're not in use. This saves space and lets you store more food containers in a smaller area.
Create lunch bins
If you prepare lunch boxes for yourself for work or your loved ones, it is a good idea to take a big plastic box and place all the lids and smaller plastic lunch food containers in that box. This keeps all your lunch boxes and lids in one space so you save time in the morning.
3. How to remove food stains from plastic storage containers?
Using bleach is a great way to remove food stains from plastic storage containers. To do this, make a mixture of water with bleach, where you put one tablespoon of bleach in a cup of water. Then, let the stained plastic food container soak in this liquid for one to two hours, before removing and rinsing it. This is a good way to remove regular food stains left by coffee, ketchup, tea, juice, soda, and even ink.
4. Which plastic food containers are safe to reuse?
Ideally, plastic food containers labeled with the number 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP) are the safest to be reused for food storage. These plastics typically do not leach any harmful chemicals when they're in a dishwasher or heated in a microwave. However, to ensure added safety, it's a good idea to store foods and drinks with similar acidity, oil content, fat, and sugar content as the items it was originally used to store.
Plastic containers made with 1,6 and 7 types of plastics are not suitable for reuse for food storage. This is because they are more prone to chemical leaching, which could contaminate the food and increase the risk of toxic chemicals entering your body.
5. What did people use before plastic for food storage?
Before the invention and commercial use of plastic, people used to turn to glass containers or clay pottery containers and glasses to store and eat food. These containers were chemical-free and served the purpose. However, these containers were usually heavy and brittle.
For grocery shopping, people used to carry bags made with cloth fabric as these were reusable and strong enough to hold heavy vegetables and fruits without breaking or tearing apart. Some cultures also use leaves of trees such as banana to serve food and to use it to make boxes and cups for food storage. This is a non-toxic and eco-friendly way of storing food for a short period of time, vis a vis single-use plastics.
6. How long do plastic food storage bags last?
Storing your fruits and veggies in plastic storage food bags may increase their shelf life from a few days to up to two weeks. However, the plastic food storage bag in itself may take more than a century to decompose. This is because plastics are not easily biodegradable and take a very long time to naturally break down and decompose.
Plastic food storage is a good idea for a home looking to store their food and drink items in a convenient way. These food containers are budget-friendly, sturdy, durable and keep your food fresher for longer. You should ideally go for airtight storage containers that are easy to open, easy to clean and stackable. Make sure that you only buy plastic food storage marked 1,2,4 or 5 for food storage. Ideally, pick 2,4, or 5 labeled food containers for reuse.