Food storage makes our daily lives comfortable and helps us to avoid waste.
Learning how to store food is essential to keep us healthy. Healthy Cookware explains that storing your food correctly is one of the best ways to protect yourselves and your family from food poisoning. If food is not stored correctly and chilled, the harmful bacteria can proliferate, leading to food spoilage and possible illness. “
However, many of us face doubts about where and how to store our leftovers.
A common question is what type of material should be used to make containers that store fruits, vegetables, and liquids.
Plastic and glass storage are two of the most popular packaging materials.
This article will explore glass storage and plastic containers’ characteristics and highlight the pros and cons of using each of them. We will also recommend the one that we consider most appropriate.
Food storage containers
The history of food containers began with the need to store food and drinks for later transportation. Thus the history of packaging follows the history of logistics and food transportation.
In the beginning, there was no need to pack food. The humans used to consume what they hunted or harvested near to them. In the prehistoric period, many nomadic tribes were traveling searching for food and drinks, finishing them in their place of origin.
As humans became more sedentary, it was the food and drinks that began to travel to them. Thus, it started a packaging need for storage and transportation.
The first types of food containers were made from 100% organic raw materials available in nature. Bark, leaves, and other natural materials were used for packing and transporting food.
QUOTE: Would you like to learn more about the history of packaging? Check our article: The history of packaging: learn from the past and build today’s innovation.
Humans have created different packaging types with other materials throughout history, such as glass, cans, paper, and plastic.
Next, we will talk about the characteristics, similarities, and differences between glass storage and plastic containers.
Until recently, plastic containers were trendy. They won the preference of housewives for being cheap and light.
Families were using plastic containers for everything, like heating food in microwaves and keeping their soups hot.
However, recently, people began to worry about the harmful effects of plastic on the human body and the environment.
Aware of the plastic containers issues, Toronto University warns his students: “Plastic is the easiest, cheapest option for food storage, but not always the smartest. While plastic containers are great for cold storage, traveling around, or for bringing food to things like potlucks (so you can leave it behind), when it comes to storing hot food and using to re-heat last night’s dinner, you want to steer clear.”
There are different types of plastic. As Earth 911explains, “Two types of plasticizers, which are substances added to plastic to help stabilize and shape it, are of concern to human health: bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates. These substances are believed to be “endocrine disrupters,” which means they mimic human hormones and can cause chronic health risks. These can leach into the food or beverage from the plastic when it’s heated. There is also evidence that some acidic foods can cause leaching without being heated.”
So, although practical and cheap plastic containers can offer several health risks due to the chemicals used in their manufacture, especially if you store food that has just come out of the oven and stove. Heating hot food in plastic containers in the microwave also poses risks.
Quote: Would you like to learn more about the effects of plastic on the human body and the environment? Check out our article: What is Plastic, how and why was it created?
Another problem with plastic containers is their low durability, which loses their colors and becomes old and worn over time.
And finally, there is still a big problem related to the environment and the low recycling rate of plastic.
Due to these problems, other options have been preferred by the more attentive consumers. One of these solutions is the return to the use of glass storage containers. Let’s talk more about it below.
Glass storage containers
As we mentioned, glass storage containers are the oldest kinds of packaging used by humans, after wood and other organic raw materials. Before glass storage containers appeared, humans used to store their food in the bark of trees and leaves.
Quote: Would you like to learn more about the history of packaging? Check our article: The history of packaging: learn from the past and build today’s innovation.
Commercial glass is produced through a mixture of sand, recycled glass, soda ash, and limestone.
Glass is a non-porous material that prevents the accumulation of dirt and bacteria susceptible to other materials. Glass storage containers are practical and straightforward to clean.
You can reuse glass containers for many years. They will keep looking like the day you purchased them. You just need to wash it well, and it is ready to be reused as much as you want. This is one of the significant advantages of glass containers.
You can use glass containers to store cold or hot food. In some cases, it can withstand high temperatures and be taken to the stove and oven, which is impossible with plastic containers.
Quote: When it does come time to retire your glass containers, they’re easier to recycle than their plastic counterparts, so you can rest easy knowing you’re still being eco-friendly (Toronto University).
Glass storage containers are recycled to a greater extent than plastic containers and can be 100% recycled endlessly.
Quote: Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity – something few food and beverage packaging options can claim (Glass Packaging Institute).
Would you like to learn more about packaging made with recycled glass? Check out our article: Wild Recycled Glass: sustainable bottle, up to 100% recycled.
Now you have a lot of information about plastic and glass containers. But so much information can sometimes seem confusing. To facilitate your reflection, we have prepared below a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of glass and plastic containers. Check out!
Plastic versus glass containers
Check below some pros and cons of plastic and glass packaging.
Advantages of plastic containers:
- They’re lightweight;
- Easily portable ;
- Won’t break if dropped;
- They are cheap;
Disadvantages of plastic containers
- Plastic is one of the most polluting materials in the world;
- Harmful chemicals from plastic containers may migrate from the plastic into your food;
- Plastic containers can get warped in contact with hot food;
- Plastic storage can absorb stains and the smell of the foods you keep in on it;
- Is not safe to wash plastic in dishwashers at high temperatures;
- Plastic containers can’t go to the oven or the stove;
- Wears out over time, gaining scratches and losing color;
Advantages of glass storage
- Glass doesn’t absorb food and germs;
- Is safe to wash glass at high temperatures in your dishwasher;
- Glass can be recycled endlessly, being eco-friendly;
- Glass storage containers offer beautiful design and aesthetics;
- Glass is a non-porous material, so the surface doesn’t absorb stains, food, and germs.
- Glass containers don’t absorb stains and the smell of the foods you keep in them.
- Glass packaging has long durability.
- Glass jars hold heat and are compatible with the stove, oven, and microwave.
Would you like to learn more about the benefits of glass containers? Check our article: 3 exclusive benefits of glass packaging
Disadvantages of glass storage
- Glass storage containers are heavy and not so easily portable;
- Glass packaging is more expensive than plastic;
- Glass containers require extra care when you place them in the freezer;
- If dropped glass storage jars can break easily;
Sustainable and healthy packaging for storing food
Thus all the problems associated with plastic packaging for storing food, companies, and consumers have been looking for healthier and sustainable packaging options. One of these alternatives is the return to glass storage containers, with innovative designs and shapes. Hello-Bottle and Hello-Pearl aim to provide solutions for the sustainable glass packaging industry.
Hello-Bottle is a company dedicated to providing glass packaging to online retailers who seek to meet the most demanding consumers in their needs for beautiful, safe, and durable glass containers.
Hello-Pearl is the most fantastic solution for food storage. Its design is beautiful and multifunctional, allowing the consumer to store fruits, vegetables, and diversified foods. Visit the Hello-Pearl website to learn more about this excellent glass storage jar.
How about you, how do you store your food? Could you leave it in the comments?