Alternatives to Plastic when Refrigerating and Freezing Or: Frugal Use of Resources!

To start with: there is no perfect answer! Just living creates carbon. So when talking about alternatives to using plastic in the fridge or freezer to store food, it is impossible to use anything that doesn’t add to our carbon footprint. So this article provides ideas for you to choose the best alternatives for you and for the environment.

First there is REUSING: (the appendix contains links to many of these ideas, both suppliers and articles on their use)

  • Reuse plastic containers that come with food you buy such as spreads, soup and yogurt pots. Those pots that come with lids are especially good and can be used to store your own soups, meals, stewed fruit etc.
  • Reuse plastic food bags. Don’t reuse ones that have contained raw meat or fish as you don’t want to encourage contamination, but many people have carefully washed bags that have held bread, fruit and the like to no ill effect and plastic bags can have long lives.
  • How about trying to reuse wax cartons? Carefully washed to remove any food, these could prove to have another use in them – see the ‘rodalesorganiclife’ article below.
  • Create small portions of food by using muffin tins or ice cube trays, then once frozen transfer to a larger container/bag and these will then take up less ‘plastic’ space.
  • Use your pottery or china bowls in the refrigerator and cover the food with a plate or a reusable cover such as cotton bowl covers or stretch food covers, rather than one use cling film – see Lakeland, eBay, etc.
  • Reuse aluminium trays and dishes, e.g. from take-away meals, and wash sheet foil for reuse.
  • Reuse all the plastic containers you already have!

Then there are ALTERNATIVES to plastic:

  • Instead of buying new plastic containers when yours have finished their useful life, try using glass. Some containers come with glass lids, others with silicone ones. Most jars are suitable in the refrigerator, such as reusing jam/pickle jars. However jars for freezing need to be strong, like Kilner or Mason jars, to withstand the low temperatures. It is important to only fill them to 70% capacity as food expands when frozen and glass will crack if put under pressure from expansion. Care needs to be taken with any glass of-course to avoid breakages.
  • Or try stainless steel containers – very expensive though.
  • A new product is Buzzcloth – made from organic cotton, beeswax and jojoba oil. It is reusable, washable and crushable so that you can seal it around food for keeping sandwiches fresh and for use in the refrigerator. It is quite expensive, but there are instructions on the web/blog to make your own – one has been included in the appendix below.
  • Recycled aluminium foil is available – some feel that aluminium should not be used in food storage for health reasons – see the links below.

If you have anything to add to this please let us know and we can include it in this article for future use.

Appendix of articles and suppliers:

  • If You Care recycled aluminium foil:

Plus other products like paper sandwich bags, parchments and baking sheets

  • Stainless steel containers

  • Glass containers

  • Silicone, silicon, plastic lids?

  • Foodwrap Make your own beeswax food wrap!

Articles: (possible effects of wrapping food in aluminium foil)