Beyond Tupperware: Frugal food storage

To hear the storage industry tell it, every kitchen needs plastic containers in a dozen sizes. You need specialized storage, too: triangles for wedges of pie, say, or deviled-egg sarcophagi with little divots to cradle each demi-oeuf. Oh, and lots of foil, waxed paper, and plastic wrap and bags to hold sandwiches and snacks or cover bowls of leftovers.

My boxes of foil and plastic wrap last me up to a couple of years each. And while I'll cop to owning a few Tupperware and Rubbermaid pieces, it's all hand-me-down stuff — and note that I said a few. I don't need much, and I don't use much commercial wrapping, because there are plenty of other ways to store food.

Note: Before I share these frugal hacks, I need to address the issue of plastic. Some people are very nervous about chemicals leaching into their foods. If this is you, then ignore all mention of plastics below and focus on the other ideas.

Use What You've Got

Don't automatically assume you need special food-storage containers. Why not just put leftovers in a bowl with a saucer or bread-and-butter plate on top? If it fits snugly, it's no different than aluminum foil or a plastic lid. (What? You thought that “burping” a Tupperware container got all the air out?)

Glass food-storage dishes are all the rage now, but glass jars work just as well. The next time you finish up some jam, pickles or spaghetti sauce, save the jar. (Quart canning jars are good for food storage, too, if you can get them cheaply. More on that below.)

The upside: They're free. The downside: They don't hold as much as those big Tupperware bowls — and they don't stack like them, either, so they take up quite a bit of room in the cupboard. I keep only a couple of them around and recycle the rest.

When cream cheese goes on sale, I stock up on the soft variety. Not only is it easier to spread, it comes in a sturdy and reusable container. I use these for small amounts of leftovers, or fill them with individual servings of pudding. (I'm also using one for odd nails, screws and other bits of miscellaneous hardware.)

J.D. and Kris's container drawer

Empty margarine tubs work much the same way. They tend to be larger, but that's fine — you can put small leftovers in a large container, but you can't put large leftovers in a small container.

Bonus: If you're sending food home with dinner guests, you don't worry about getting the Gold'n Soft container back. Nobody's walking out the door with my Tupperware, though, because it belonged to my mother.

I buy Wyler's sugar-free lemonade, which comes in little packets inside a plastic container. These containers have proved useful for stacking Christmas cookies as gifts. When I'm making jam and have a small amount left over, I'll put it in a Wyler's container and give it to my sister or a neighbor.

It's in the Bag

I broke my toe last spring. When I looked for a plastic bag to use as an ice pack, I was amused by the variety of choices. I had bags that once held hot dog rolls, bread, and frozen soybeans, corn and mixed vegetables. I had the inner liners from boxes of cereal and crackers. I even had a number of Ritz cracker sleeves.

Here are a few ways I've used these items:

  • Plastic bags. I use these to store leftover meatloaf, chicken or pork chops and to keep home-baked goods fresh (I don't have a cookie jar). Sometimes I slip a bowl of leftovers inside one of these bags.
  • Ritz cracker wrappers. Cut up, they're good for wrapping and freezing the hamburger patties I make when ground beef goes on sale. I secure them with rubber bands — since I still subscribe to a newspaper, I have tons of those things. A cracker wrapper is rubber-banded over the glass measuring cup of bacon fat sitting in my fridge. And I'm writing this from a house-sitting job; I used a Ritz cracker wrapper around the toothbrush in my toiletries bag.
  • Frozen vegetable bags. I use them to freeze chili — or spaghetti-sauce-sized portions of cooked ground beef or chicken. Or I cut off the ends and cut the bag in half lengthwise; each half is the right size for wrapping those hamburger patties. (Originally I offered these to my sister, who owns a Golden Retriever. She declined because she prefers a bag she can tie shut and also because big dog = big poop. Bigger than 16 ounces? Yikes! Another reason I don't have a dog.)
  • Cracker/cereal liners. These are good for storing chicken or chops bought in bulk and then re-wrapped into smaller portions. If you cut the liners open, you wind up with what's essentially a big piece of waxed paper. It can be cut into smaller pieces to wrap hamburger, whether cooked or in patties. Each summer I cut one of the large cracker liners to fit the cookie sheet on which I freeze gleaned blackberries. I freeze them until they're solid before putting them in bags, to keep them from becoming one big lump.

And then there are the washed and re-used Ziploc bags. You just knew I'd bring that up, didn't you? An MSN Money reader suggested buying only the freezer bags, which seem to be made of sterner stuff and will last longer. I can attest: Some of my zipper-type bags are on their fourth tour of duty for frozen blackberries.

However, if a bag has held raw meat then I tend to throw it out. Campylobacter and other nasties are nothing to fool with; to me, it's worth occasionally tossing a bag vs. risking food poisoning.

Possible Frugal Hacks

Why pay retail? Here are some other ways to save on food storage:

    • You can often find Tupperware and other storage containers in the “free” box at yard sales. Empty jars, too.
    • I bought aluminum foil at an estate sale. Or, rather, I tried to buy it: The woman running the sale just gave it to me. If I'd paid, it would have been a quarter and it was one of those big boxes, too.
    • Once I found waxed paper in the half-price bin at the dollar store. If you are very lucky there will be a clearance bin at your dollar store, too.
    • Keep an eye on the Freecycle network — I've seen Rubbermaid, Tupperware and canning jars offered. Don't see any? Put up a “wanted” ad.

You can paint these tactics as extremely green/frugal, or you can use them as an easy opportunity to make fun of extremely green/frugal types. Personally, I prefer to look at it as giving “throwaway” plastic at least one more use — and, yes, I'm saving money because I don't have to pull a length of foil or plastic wrap off the roll. Have you checked the price of commercial wraps lately?

J.D.'s note: Donna's right: It's easy to make fun of frugal tactics like this. But remember how last May I spent ten days on a boat with my real millionaire next door? Well, he does all of these things and more. And the photo illustrating this article? That's our own kitchen drawer — Kris has a vast library of re-used plastic bags and containers.
More about...Food, Frugality

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LifeAndMyFinances
LifeAndMyFinances
9 years ago

Nice frugal tips! I forgot all about using a butter tub as a “tupperware container”.

I’ve got plenty of other frugal tips on my website. I focus on getting out of debt, saving money, and growing rich!

s
s
9 years ago

Ugh – no thanks – too much clutter. Where do you have space to store all this stuff? And what about the bugs it attracts? I prefer my matching plastic set with stacking, locking lids and see through containers.

David
David
9 years ago

If you live in New York (or possibly San Francisco), Chinese take-out containers make awesome reusable containers!

Andy
Andy
9 years ago

Very good article – and a good reminder of a few tips I have forgotten. It’s nice to know there are others out there who try to give things a “second life” when possible. One other thing we did was get a smaller trash can (a little smaller than an office trash can) so we could use the plastic bags we get at the grocery store as trash bags. We try to compost everything we can and there are only two of us, so we don’t have a whole lot of trash anyway and now we don’t have to buy… Read more »

sewingirl
sewingirl
9 years ago

You know you’re frugal when….. you have as many freshly washed plastic bags flapping on the clothesline, as you do socks!

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl
9 years ago

Donna, I use cereal bags just like you described, but I wondered if I was the only one! I never hear people talk about that.

And while I do use glass jars and bowls topped with plates as leftover containers, I don’t generally reuse plastic containers. I’m one of those people who is a little leary of plastic, so I swear by my glass Pyrex containers for leftovers. Love, love, love them.

I do like to reuse plastic food containers for other storage purposes, like for containing toys with small pieces.

Steven Zussino
Steven Zussino
9 years ago

Really, aluminum foil at an estate sale!

Seriously, my family uses yogurt containers (750g). They are great for my lunches and picnics.

Growing up my mom would even use the smaller containers as drinking containers for picnics.

Aluminum foil is one thing I won’t budget on – I am brand loyal for this (quality is important and I had bad luck the one time trying a new product).

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years ago

Several brands of pre-packaged deli meat come in reusable plastic containers (stackable, locking lids, and see through). We have more of these in the cabinet than we’ll ever use, but they don’t take up much space since they’re all the same size.

The disposable Ziploc plastic containers are cheap too, and they apparently last forever (going on 4+ years now IIRC). Plus we don’t care if we give one to a friend with the leftovers or some cookies.

Chickybeth
Chickybeth
9 years ago

I thought everyone reused the butter tub! After looking into plastic leaching, I only reuse the #5’s now and I am using my last bit of plastic wrap before switching to only waxed paper/foil. I clean and reuse the foil because I know how energy intensive it is to produce, but it is also expensive! Just like with a lot of household products, if I can find a low or no cost option I can use that money for something else (like chocolate!). Lately I’ve been looking for a non-plastic way to store stuff in the freezer as I am… Read more »

Cher
Cher
7 years ago
Reply to  Chickybeth

Tupperware freezer mates may be plastic, but they are BPA free and I swear by them. The food lasts longer in them, doesn’t get freezer burn like in bags and therefore it saves me money not throwing out ends of food anymore 🙂 Plus the stack well.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

Great ideas, Donna!

I used to work in food services (a deli) so there’s one thing I wanted to warn people about. Many food containers (like margarine containers) aren’t made for repeated use. We don’t really know how long they’ll last and when they’ll break down.

I prefer to store food in glass, but I’m rarely paid full price for them. There’s a Pyrex/Corningware outlet store within driving distance of me, so I watch for their sales. Many pieces I picked up on BOGO sales, and the containers make great housewarming and bridal shower gifts.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

@Chickybeth — perhaps try freezer paper, if you can find it? Sometimes I ask the meat clerk at the grocery store to wrap items in freezer paper for me so I don’t have to worry about properly storing meat. (it’s also easy to label).

Kris
Kris
9 years ago

I love 1-quart yoghurt containers – When I make a pot of soup on the weekend, I usually freeze a quart of it for another meal. Plus, as you mentioned, I can send things home with people or share a quart of soup with our neighbors, and not worry about whether I get that container back! My husband and I also experimented with what we called “redneck margaritas” last summer – a batch of frozen margaritas, split between two yogurt containers. We stuck straws in them, drank about half, then put the lids on and stuck them in the freezer… Read more »

Adrian
Adrian
9 years ago

You Know, It Wasn’t All Too Long Ago That I Used To Critisize And Joke With My Mom About Her “Overly-Frugal-Tupperware-Suppliments” That Is, Until I Started Doing Cooking And Buying Of My Own 😛 A Few Tips Worth Mentioning Though Are: i) Be Careful What Was In The Bottle/ Container Before Hand, Not Only For Germ/ Contamination Reasons, But I Find The Smell (I.E. Pepper Bottles etc.) Can Still Ruin Newly-Placed Food In The Cleanest Of Containers. ii) J.D. Once Mentioned The Value Of Using “Clear-Only” Containers, And Rotating The Stock of Your Fridge Or Freezer Ever So Often To… Read more »

Alison Wiley
Alison Wiley
9 years ago

Good post — predicated on the assumption that we do indeed save and use leftovers. I’ve always loved leftovers. I’ve been surprised to hear of some people who actually throw leftovers away rather than take the trouble to wrap them and store them. That’s sad, both for them and the planet. It takes lots of precious resources to grow food, cook it and get it onto our tables.

Rock on, Donna and JD!

MutantSuperModel
MutantSuperModel
9 years ago

I started poking through the Complete Tightwad Gazette last night and read the piece on rewashing ziploc bags. I knew my Mom reused them but I’ve mostly thrown them away. Now I know better. I’m a huge fan of getting creative with other food storage though like containers from other things. This is definitely one of those things easy to make fun of but it also just comes across so sensibly too. Thanks!

sarah
sarah
9 years ago

Hm. I’m frugal, but I don’t like clutter. I have one set of tupperware and a few unmarked takeout containers that I reuse, and I find that serves me just fine. I cook everything from scratch and I don’t find myself needing extra containers or foil or anything. Foil, plastic wrap, etc, also lasts me a couple years. A lot of times when a recipe says to use plastic wrap or foil I just don’t, and it turns out fine. I lay a cookie sheet over the lasagna pan instead, or use a grocery bag to cover the bowl of… Read more »

Kristia@Family Balance Sheet
[email protected] Balance Sheet
9 years ago

I’m coming out of the closet and I’m going to admit that I re-use plastic and glass food containers. I have read on many blogs about the dangers of doing this, but I don’t microwave the plastic and I have never had a problem with bugs as #2 stated. When I have too many containers, I just toss in the recycle bin. I am from a long lineage of women who have re-used food containers and I just don’t think twice about doing so. Every time I go to visit my Nanny, she sends me home with a cool-whip container… Read more »

Thad
Thad
9 years ago

Reuse?

Glass … yes.

Plastic … rarely.

While I am not overly concerned about plastics leaching into my food, I prefer to store items in glass everywhere except for the freezer. Save those jars … especially pickle jars with large mouths!

Michael
Michael
9 years ago

My wife and I use small Pyrex glass containers for most of our leftover storage. This is in part to avoid leaching plastic, but it’s also because they’re oven-safe. Because microwaves work by oscillating small (i.e. micro) electromagentic waves to make water molecules spin, that same effect can and often does kink other chemicals like fats into really unhealthy forms like trans fats. That’s part of why microwaved food tastes so different from oven-heated food. We avoid the problem by using a small convection oven to reheat most of our food, so storing our leftovers in small Pyrex containers makes… Read more »

amber
amber
9 years ago

I think everyone has to draw their own comfort level on this one. There is the space factor to consider – that if you have all that room to store this stuff, then maybe you are paying too much for a big house you don’t need or else your house is way too cluttered. Then there is the forgotten food hidden in the margarine container problem too – if you can’t see it, you probably won’t remember to eat it. I vascilate on this subject because I love living small but also try to be conservative about what I throw… Read more »

KC
KC
9 years ago

I’m big on Pyrex. You can store things in it, heat things in it, eat out of it, etc. Since it is glass and not plastic it doesn’t stain, warp or develop scratches that can hide bacteria. Obviously there are uses for plastic (like if you have small kids), but most of my storage stuff is glassware. And it will last forever. I suppose if you have marble/granite in your kitchen it could break, but I have wood and soft countertops. The only think that will break is my toe. I’m very careful about reusing bags, etc. Grocery stores are… Read more »

Sarah S.
Sarah S.
9 years ago

I grew up in a household that saved and reused plastic sandwich bags, paper lunch bags, and plastic and glass containers of all sorts. I’m not sure if it was about saving money, being green (back before most people worried about being green) or just an odd family quirk. I used to tease my mother about it … until a few years ago my husband and I bought our first home, started cooking for ourselves more, and suddenly I found myself with a fridge full of leftovers in margarine containers, cream cheese containers, and hot dog bun bags. I am… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

I grew up like this and I still save containers on occasion. (We also stockpile the plastics we can’t curbside recycle and take them to the recycling place about once a year.)

But now that we have a kid I worry about BPA and whatever unknown chemicals they’re using to replace BPA and try to do most of my storage in pyrex and other glass containers.

Barb
Barb
9 years ago

#9 Chickeybeth. I use glass (pyrex) containers that have plastic lids. the primary reason I do this is because I prefer to heat up leftover meals in the oven and I dont have to pour anything out into another casserole-its a one move system. Also freezer paper. My only disagreement with Donna is about the air, In the freezer, the smallest container should be used (with the least amount of air pocket) and I do such the air out with a straw and or burb it.

Monica
Monica
9 years ago

@ #2 – Agreed!

@ #19 Michael – I’d be interested to learn more about what you said. Where did you find that information?

Mary
Mary
9 years ago

I use different sizes of canning/freezing jars for storage in refrigerator and freezer. They’re durable and can often be picked up inexpensively at thrift stores and yard sales. I find that being able to see what’s inside at a glance really makes a difference as far as using leftovers in a timely manner. I also like to use cereal/cracker bags for storing loaves of homemade bread.

retirebyforty
retirebyforty
9 years ago

I love tupperware containers and we’ve had them for many years. We also reuse zip lock bags. I want to see how much money you really save with aluminum foils and plastic wraps. I think it’s much better to keep reusing tupperwares. We keep the salsa containers around for a while too.

bon
bon
9 years ago

I know this is more about containers – but we store cut celery and carrots one-end-down in a container with shallow water – keeps fresh much longer. Wish I knew more tips like this for different types of food – any more?

Elysia
Elysia
9 years ago

We recycle like mad; our garbage bags generally last a while (which is fine unless a friend puts a dirty diaper in there — whoa that stinks after a while). My absolute favorite “tupperware” right now is what I get my takeout sushi in. They have a nice lid and are the perfect size. I don’t get sushi often, but it is something I can’t make and am willing to pay for as a treat. Another really nice thing from my mom is a box of things that looks like shower caps (I think http://www.covermatecovers.com/faq.htm) that just pull on over… Read more »

tjw
tjw
9 years ago

I still have recurring nightmares of digging through my mother’s cabinets trying to find a pot or pan amidst the disarray of dozens of empty margarine tubs or Cool Whip containers. In fact, I just bought my mother a dozen Tupperware containers for Christmas so that she could get rid of all of those other ones. I just need my stuff more organized than a collection of miscellaneous tubs and bags can provide. I have all of my tupperware (about 10 sandwich boxes) stacked neatly on one shelf in one cabinet. Works for me.

Angela
Angela
9 years ago

Frugality is important when you are trying to save money, build wealth, get out of debt, etc. however I think some frugal hacks lean more towards the pack rat mentality than the frugal mentality. I say this from personal experience – I grew up in a frugal (pack rat) household and I am making every effort to not be the same way (moving every one to two years definitely makes you look at your possessions differently). A cluttered kitchen, to me, says a cluttered life. Saving something because you might be able to use it some day is a terrible… Read more »

RazzBari
RazzBari
9 years ago

I’m a big fan of transparent or translucent containers (glass or plastic) – stuff that gets stored in opaque containers just doesn’t get used as readily.

Draw the line at old fast-food containers – when we cleared out my grandmother’s kitchen, she had a cabinet full of old KFC styrofoam containers, blechhhhh….

And I have a garage sale stemware rack (that looks kind of like an elongated business end of a rake) mounted under the cabinet near my dish rack so I can slide freshly washed plastic bags on to dry.

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

All these tips remind me too much of my mother’s method of storing food, which frankly just grosses me out. Washed out bread bags that are still wet, reused containers that you never can find a lid for, plastic containers with some sort of unidentifiable residue on the inside….yuck! Plus she had to store all this stuff, which was always disorganized and took up a lot of space. And reusing Ritz crackers bags – those have tons of butter/oil in them. I can’t imagine how you can get the grease off the sleeve. And don’t even get me started on… Read more »

evelyn
evelyn
9 years ago

When my mom died, I inherited her beautiful vintage Pyrex refrigerator dishes, baking dishes, and bowls. Amazing colors! Since then, I’ve been collecting Pyrex in antique stores, especially in the South, where a $42 Pyrex bowl on eBay can be found for $8. I now give Pyrex to my grown children for Christmas to add to their collection. We love our new tradition and the sense of history of each piece. The various colors are gorgeous. Tupperware and Zip-locs are not environmentally friendly, but glass Pyrex is. Plus it’s fun!

April Dykman
9 years ago

I’m with the other Pyrex fans–it’s really not that expensive, esp. if you find it at discount sales. It lasts forever, no worries about chemicals in plastic breaking down, you can store food and serve food because they look nice, and we really don’t need that many of them (and we cook all our meals from scratch). We also try not to have too many grocery bags and other plastics–we bring reusable bags to the store and have reusable mesh bags for produce. It’s a worthwhile investment for us, but then, I’m a health nut and can’t deal with clutter.… Read more »

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

I have a whole cabinet full of empty jars and plastic containers. I also have a small set of Tupperware-like containers because sometimes it’s nice to have a sturdier container with a really tight-fitting lid. I draw the line at washing plastic bags and reusing plastic packaging, though. It just seems like more trouble than it’s worth for the amount that I use. A roll of plastic wrap or foil lasts me over a year. I do reuse ziplock bags for the same things (e.g., I frequently freeze bread and I use the same ziplock over and over for that).

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago

I’ve been using wide mouth pint jars for more and more things over the years – they are great for leftovers, because you can freeze them (tempered glass) and also heat food in them safely. You can’t reuse flat lids for canning, but they’re fine for refrigerator or freezer storage – which means we have an infinite supply of lids. This year I got gallon canning jars for refrigerator pickles, and those hold more than any tupperware container, and are the same height as a gallon of milk so they use vertical space in the fridge. The thing the reused… Read more »

Jennifer Lissette
Jennifer Lissette
9 years ago

My grandma used this same method all her life and still does. I looked into it but found that these items degrade much faster and it’s hard to know when plastic is degrading into your food. I’m in the baby-making and breastfeeding stage of my life, so it’s worth it to be a little careful right now. Plus, these items are definitely not safe for reheating food. If I’d have to dirty a dish to reheat my food anyway, I’d rather have something that can go straight from fridge to table to microwave. I invested in some of the glasslock… Read more »

Andy
Andy
9 years ago

For Pyrex users, be careful of extreme temperature fluctuations, such as when taking an item out of the oven, moving the food to a plate and then putting the still hot container in the sink (where it contacts cold water). I’ve done this before and the Pyrex shatters into little tiny pieces.

Max
Max
9 years ago

Storage containers seems to breed. I don’t save yogurt tubs and I’ve never bought a set of plastic leftover containers (except three butterfly tupperware sandwich containers). I would warn against reusing those plastic containers and bags for food. As many point out, they were not manufactured to be reused. I think one is better off just not using plastic bags in the first place. And it seems funny to me to suggest re-using cereal bags. Cold cereal is so expensive. Why not just cut it out and save money that way? I am reading about minimalism recently and I think… Read more »

Steffie Erikson
Steffie Erikson
9 years ago

I have tried all sorts of containers. It didn’t matter, the food usually didn’t get eaten. Now we try to cook just what we can eat at one meal. This works for us, no leftovers and different food to alleviate boredom. If we want to eat the same thing two times in a row we just make it again fresh. This may be the answer for some people who don’t want to use plastic, organize stuff etc.

Tyler
Tyler
9 years ago

Which of these frugal containers work well for taking leftovers to your place of employment for lunch? A bowl with a plate on top, or old plastic bags don’t sound like they travel well.

Kathryn
Kathryn
9 years ago

The “clutter battle” stops me from keeping loads of these things, particularly a variety of plastic bags. I just do better overall with less clutter. There is however ONE drawer of plastic tubs. Some are the store-bought new ones, others are former food containers, but they ALL get re-used over and over again. There are also a few pieces of tupperware, but they are purchased with multiple specific uses in mind, and thus far, they’ve each been used over and over.

Aryn
Aryn
9 years ago

I have a stash of margarine and sour cream containers that I’m saving for seed starting. They’re the perfect size to start several seedlings. Just punch holes in the bottom and add soil.

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

Almost everyone I know – myself included – recycles at least some packaging. I tend to favor glass; my favorite honey comes in great little 8 oz glass jars which are perfect for things like rendered duck or bacon fat, or hummingbird nectar; and a pasta jar is currently in use holding homemade cocoa mix. We also recycle the takeout containers from our favorite Thai place. They last for several uses, are microwave safe, and are sturdy enough to use to transport lunches to the office. Our other favorite takeout place uses some new kind of biodegradable packaging that isn’t… Read more »

Mary
Mary
9 years ago

I pack a lunch for work 95% of the time and I use my canning jars in pint or 1/2 pint or 1/2 cup sizes, depending on what’s needed. One or two or even three small ones fit easily in my lunch bag. I’ve never had one break either. I find the wide-mouthed ones more convenient to use.

Max
Max
9 years ago

Elysia – I love sushi too. We occassionally make sushi at home. (But we go out for it too!) We started with smoked salmon and veggie varieties and then graduated to raw fish! It’s not that hard or scary. Ours isn’t as neat and it’s not as good as the best places I’ve been too. But we can play around. We even made teriyaki chicken and avocado sushi once. (Cooked of course) It’s not expensive considering the cost of takeout sushi. I highly recommend it as a dinner party activity or doing it with a friend. It is lots of… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
9 years ago

To those who fear clutter: Keep just a few of these things on hand at a time. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with limited cupboard space, so I’m very careful about the number of repurposed containers I keep on hand (e.g., two pickle jars at a time). @ #16 Sarah: A cookie sheet over the lasagna pan — brilliant! Thank you for that tip. @ #2: Not sure why you worry about bugs. Why would an empty margarine container attract bugs any more than an empty Tupperware bowl if both of them are washed carefully? @ #40 Tyler: I… Read more »

Des
Des
9 years ago

I used to save all of our plastic tubs (margarine, cool whip, etc.) but what I found was that it was too easy to forget what was in them until it was too late. We spend a couple hundred dollars a month on food, and if see-through containers cut down on the waste they are a very frugal purchase. I also second Tyler’s point that you can’t really bring lunch to work in a margarine tub. I bought a couple Lock & Lock containers from Amazon recently because they are leak-proof and I can bring leftover stew and chili to… Read more »

Cely
Cely
9 years ago

Like an earlier commenter, I buy mostly fresh food these days, so I don’t bring much packaging home. I do reuse plastic grocery bags as trash bags in my bathroom. I use pickle jars for holding bacon grease or other cooking fat, but only need one or two per year. I have a small collection of Tupperware and “lesser” plastic tubs (store-bought) because I bring lunch to work every day. Glass is too heavy/breakable for that. I’m not crazy about using the plastic, but I live with it for now. I also use these tubs to store food at home,… Read more »

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