Instead of buying ziplock plastic baggies and other plastic containers, I like to reuse containers I already have. Instead of placing my plastic sour cream containers, margarine containers or other food containers directly into the recycling bin, I wash them and use them for other things.
- Leftovers. These are great for leftovers. If you want to send something home with a friend, you don’t have to worry about getting your container back. Great for work too, if you’re like me and forget to bring the containers home.
- Paint. Great for small amounts of touch up paints.
- Freezer containers. Make extra food and freeze it for lunches or quick microwave meals. (never reheat in the plastic containers)
- Recycle containers. Use a small container to keep small lids for recycling. Aveda will recycle all of these for you.
- Hardware. These are great for storing nails, screws, washers and other hardware items.
- Art supplies. These can be used for storing art supplies or used as water containers for paint brushes.
- Toys. These are great for storing kids toys that have small parts. They’re easy to open and close, also making them great for the car. Less toys under the seats.
- Pantry storage. Use these containers to store food that comes in unsealable plastic bags. I buy rice in the large bulk bag and store it in an old pretzel container.
- Other uses. I’m sure there are many more uses for these. Just think what might be a good second or third use of something before recycling it.
Let me address the question you’re all waiting to add to the comments section. “Aren’t plastic containers bad for your health?” Yes, some of them are. I looked up these types of containers, as pictured above, and they are made of polypropylene. Without getting too technical, the symbol on these containers is the one pictured on the left, and there’s no proven health risks on this type. The containers say “dishwasher safe” on the bottom. They are doing some studies based on a 2008 study saying some of the plastic will get into your food, but nothing has been proven to this point. This type of plastic is considered a ‘safer’ type.
There are many types of plastics out there, and here I’m only speaking of PP (polypropylene) plastic. I usually use these containers 3 or 4 times, hand-washing them or placing them in the dishwasher with a no-heat-dry setting. Never cook food in any type of plastic, as that does melt and can leach chemicals into your food.
I’m no plastics expert, but it’s good to do a little research on any containers you do plan to reuse. All plastics have the symbols like the one above, making it easy to research. Yes, it’s a pain to have to know all this stuff, but it’s the world we live in. It’s better to educate yourself and not have to worry. I like free storage containers, and I could eat my weight in sour cream, so I usually have a lot of them. All of them go to good uses. What do you use food containers for?