Food Containers: Best Plastic-Free & Eco-Friendly Options

Making the switch to eco-friendly and plastic-free food containers is not only better for the environment, but also for your health.

By Maryruth Belsey-Priebe

Fact checked by Sander Tamm

Eco-Friendly, Plastic-Free Food Containers
Eco-Friendly, Plastic-Free Food Containers / Sander Tamm / Ecolife

Rarely do we make exactly the right amount of food for dinner and there is a need to store leftovers. However, plastic food storage containers could be harming your health, and they’re certainly not as eco-friendly as storing your food in glass or stainless steel containers.

Why to avoid plastic food containers

Scientists have discovered health hazards associated with storing or heating food in plastic containers. This summary of some of the findings should convince you that reusable, plastic-free food containers are a healthier choice, with the added benefit of being better for the planet:

  • Toxic when heated: Some plastic containers can leach cancer-causing chemicals, such as BPA, into foods when heated, especially if they were not originally meant to store food in the first place.
  • Toxic even without heat: Some plastics, such as polycarbonate and PVC, can leach chemicals into your food even without heating. PVC cling-film plastic has also been shown to allow plasticizers to migrate into the food and there are concerns that styrene from polystyrene food containers can migrate from the foam into your food.

Eco-friendly food containers

Here’s a list of eco-friendly, plastic-free, and zero-waste food containers:


This is an inert material that won’t leach anything to or from your food and washes easily over and over again in the dishwasher. Though it is breakable, with proper care your reusable glass food containers should last a long time. Choose ones with lids to make sealing and stacking really simple, and look for products that can go from fridge to freezer to oven to dishwasher without any trouble to further enhance their convenience.

Stainless steel

Another great inert food storage option, stainless steel is also perfectly safe for keeping your leftovers and packing lunches. Though you can’t microwave stainless steel, you can always transfer leftovers to a pot on the stove or a serving dish that is microwave safe. 

Natural fabrics

Today there are some fabulous and fun fabric food storage options on the market for lunch-packing. They look like disposable plastic baggies but are made with washable fabrics that can be used over and over again.


Silicone is a synthetic material that is not biodegradable. However, unlike plastics, it can be recycled over and over, making it one of the most reusable food containers around, and fitting in with the principles of zero-waste living.

Beeswax wraps

Organic, biodegradable and reusable beeswax wraps are a uniquely sustainable way to store food and keep it fresh. Once you warm them up your hands, beeswax wraps become easily malleable, and you can use them to wrap up anything delicious. Beeswax is one of the most eco-friendly alternatives to toxic PVC cling-film plastic.