Over in the Frugal Girl Facebook group, a reader asked for ideas to help reduce plastic food storage usage in the kitchen (things like zipper bags, Saran wrap, and so on).
I’ve tried a lot of non-disposable alternatives so I thought I’d share my favorites here.
First, a note:
None of these items is going to be as handy as a disposable plastic bag. Disposables are always the simplest, easiest option.
But if you are motivated to reduce trash output and are willing to invest some money and a little time, there ARE options out there to help you avoid disposable plastic.
These are $10.95 for a set of three, and I especially like the large bag. It’s a lot like a gallon ziploc bag, but it’s sturdy and reusable.
The zippers on these press and seal pretty easily, and they wash up well.
They say they’re dishwasher safe, but one of mine got a little misshapen in the dishwasher so I handwash them now.
Use the link below to make an account with Grove; that way you’ll get some freebies along with your reusable bags.
I have two of these and I use them pretty frequently. They’re dishwasher safe (for real, unlike the Grove bags) and easy to seal.
My one beef with them is that the opening is not nearly as wide as the bag itself. So if you have a wide item, this doesn’t work super well.
3. Commercial bread/cereal bags
The bags from bagels and other breads usually just need to have the crumbs shaken out and then they’re good for more uses.
The liner bag from cereals can also be useful as long as you shake the crumbs/dust out. I use chip clips to hold these sealed shut.
You can also use other commercial bags; for instance, I’ve used the Costco-sized frozen fruit bags to hold my own frozen fruit, like peaches.
And the jasmine rice bags from Aldi make great chicken freezer bags!
4. Glass/metal storage containers
Since these containers tend to have more open space in them, they’re not quite as good for keeping things fresh as plastic.
But for short-term storage, they work just fine.
I put things like muffins or leftover pizza in my big Pyrex container all the time.
Amazon sells a set of three rectangular Pyrex containers, and I highly recommend those if you don’t already own some.
5. Stretchy silicone covers
These replace plastic wrap, and while there are oodles available on Amazon, I have not tried any brand except Lekue.
The reviews of the cheaper ones seem kind of mixed, with some people complaining of breakage after just a few uses.
In order to be worth the price + environmentally friendly, a reusable product needs to be very durable.
It’s possible that some other brand works well, but I can definitely say that Lekue lids hold up really well over time. I’ve had my little ones for years now and they are still going strong.
The large one is fantastic for covering half a watermelon, and it even works for storing a quarter melon.
Slightly dishonorable mention:
I got two of these flat silicone disks that promised to replace plastic wrap.
They do work fairly well, but they don’t seal as tight as the Lekue lids.
Also, the edges of the flower design stick out past the edge of the container, which is not great in a crowded fridge. And if you push on the top of the lid at all, it collapses.
So, I would not give these a thumbs up; buy one of the other products I mentioned instead.
Speaking of which, if you’d like to see all the products I’m recommending in this post, just click here.
Do these products save money?
If you use them enough times, then I’d say yes.
But plastic bags and Saran wrap are so cheap, it’s going to take a long time to recoup the cost of buying reusable products.
So, I think that if you purchase these products, it has to be more because you want to avoid trash than because you want to save money.
If you’d like to see me talk about these products, well, you’re in luck because I made a YouTube video.
Alrighty. I think that’s the end of what I’ve got to say on the topic. I’d love to hear from you, though.
What’s your favorite plastic bag or plastic wrap alternative?
P.S. I should have added beeswax wraps to this list. I tried them and I wanted to love them, but man, I just could not get them to seal at all.
P.P.S. You can wash and reuse Ziploc bags too, of course (I do it all the time!) But that seemed a little too obvious to add to the list.