Plastic Free Kitchen: Zip Bag Alternatives

 

Two sustainable kitchen rules I follow are to choose non-toxic materials and to go with reusable when possible.

I’ve been pretty successful at finding convenient alternatives for just about everything.  Except for one: how to replace plastic zip lock style food storage bags. What can I use instead of plastic food storage bags?   I don’t want to have plastic in direct contact with my food, and plastic freezer and food storage bags aren’t reusable.

Sure, you can find many eco-friendly, reusable alternatives to plastic sandwich and snack bags. But I don’t eat sandwiches or snacks, so what I’m looking for is actual food storage bags.  I use glass or stainless steel containers or even sturdy linen wraps to store just about everything, but sometimes you just really prefer a locking plastic bag.  For one thing, you can squeeze the air out of them, which is very useful.

I have finally found a good alternative: food grade silicone.  Silicone is inert, doesn’t out gas or leach dioxin or lead or phthalates.  It’s non-toxic, safe for food, resists microbes, is easy to clean and stands up to hot and cold temperatures. They are not cheap, but if you take care of these bags they will last a very long time.

What I’m using now is Lékué silicone food storage bags.  Here’s what I like and dislike about them

Pros

  • Bags are very sturdy and well made
  • Design allows the bag to stand upright on its own on the counter and in the fridge–which is more space efficient and neater–and also allows you to pour liquids into it easily
  • Seal works really well, zips easily and stays locked
  • Silicone is so versatile: it can be used in the freezer as well as in hot applications such as sous vide
  • Has measuring marks clearly labeled
  • No plastic, no toxins, no gmo ( found in many bioplastics )

Cons

  • Bags are expensive: you really have to think of them as an investment that will last for years
  • The same design that allows the bag to stand upright makes it harder to use for sous vide cooking
  • It takes more room to store the bags because they are bulky
  • The largest size I’ve found is the 1 liter, which is not big enough to use for marinating food or storing larger portions
silicone zip lock bag

The design of this silicon locking storage bag allows it to stand upright on the counter and in the fridge.

I believe these can be used in the microwave as well, though I don’t use a microwave so I’ve never tried it.  It would be great if a company would make a version that was flat, because sometimes it’s preferable, such as for sous vide cooking.  A quart size option would be really useful, as would a discount for purchasing, say, a four-pack.  I’m sure as the demand rises for non-plastic alternatives to zip lock style food storage bags, we’ll get more choice and a better price.

What non-toxic reusable alternatives have you found for food storage in your kitchen?

Learn more

SHOPsilicone food storage bags


IDEA
: have you considered airtight stainless steel for food storage?

READPlastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too


Dangers of nonstick cookware

Nonstick cookware is popular largely because cooking does not require the use of oils or fats, which purportedly creates healthier meals. The price for this benefit may be steep, however, as nonstick cookware has been linked to dangerous toxins.

 

Avoid using toxic chemicals to clean your kitchen

In the US, there is no law that compels manufacturers to provide a complete ingredient label, making it difficult to distinguish between the ingredients and chemicals found in these seemingly ordinary products. Make your kitchen a chemical free zone by whipping up your own non-toxic, all natural kitchen cleaners with just four simple, inexpensive ingredients.

 

Evaluating eco-trash bags

With so many different options, how do we really know that our earth friendly trash bags are helping the environment instead of just costing us more money? The key is in researching the materials used in making the trash bags, and understanding their environmental implications.

 

Organic baby food, is it worth the cost?

The Alternative Health Journal recently studied over 100 baby foods and found that many contain ingredients that are not necessary to a baby’s diet, let alone health. Results concluded that many commercial baby foods contain high quantities of sugar and trans fats; both ingredients that are not considered to be healthy for adults, much less babies. Even organic brands are not exempt from this, as one popular organic baby food brand was shown to contain high sodium levels.

 

What’s sprayed on fruits and vegetables after harvest?

While most of us know by now that processed foods often contain a host of unhealthy additives, from fake flavors and colors to chemical preservatives, what do we know about fresh produce?

 

Ractopamine in pork: how does this affect you?

Ractopamine is a drug administered to pigs, usually as a feed additive, to increase the amount of lean meat or fat (depending on dosage). It’s typically fed to pigs in the weeks just before slaughter.

 

How to avoid Salmonella contamination in your kitchen

Some people mistakenly believe that buying organic or sustainably raised chicken or poultry means they don’t have to worry about Salmonella. Following proper kitchen protocol when handling poultry can help you reduce the risk of food poisoning.

In the kitchen with Ethical Foods

braised goat recipe

Braised Goat Shoulder Recipe With Cinnamon and Blood Orange

Wondering how to cook goat? Here’s a braised goat recipe for a shoulder chop, or any cut suitable for braising. It’s a lovely meat that… Read more

Cardamom Scented Grassfed Lamb Stew With Prunes Recipe

What do you think of prunes? This amazing pairing of lamb and prunes is guaranteed to give you a new perspective on this humble ingredient.… Read more

Indonesian Jamu: a Simple Recipe to Make Your Own Healing Turmeric Juice

Jamu is a traditional Indonesian tonic taken as medicine for all kinds of ailments. Make your own refreshing turmeric Jamu to rev up your digestion… Read more

Chicken Ginger Broth for Spring Colds

Many people come down with colds, flu and sinus infections when the seasons change.  Here is a recipe for Chinese ginger chicken broth that, with… Read more

Sheep milk curry and rose petal marinade for heritage breed turkey breast

Rose Petal And Indian Curry Heritage Breed Turkey Breast

Heritage breed turkeys taste richer, but can dry out when cooked. Here is an easy and delicious marinade that delivers a flavorful, moist turkey breast… Read more

How to plan a sustainable, organic, and local holiday dinner

How To Plan An Eco-conscious Holiday Feast

Our top six tips for a healthy, sustainable and locally sourced holiday dinner. Save money, avoid waste and enjoy a wholesome, humane feast. Read more

Holiday Food Links: Halloween & All Saints

Enjoy the last weekend of October, Halloween, Toussaint (All Saints Day). Here are our favorite food links and recipes for your weekend web surfing. Read more

Modern Diwali Foods: Organic and Sustainable

Modern Diwali Foods: Organic & Sustainable 2018

This year on November 7, firecrackers will sound throughout the streets of India, as well as many other countries around the world, in celebration of… Read more

September Soups

These seasonal garden soups will help you make the most of September’s bountiful harvests as you transition into autumn. Potato and green chili stew by… Read more

make your own coconut yogurt from whole coconuts

How to Make Yogurt From Fresh Whole Raw Coconuts

Thick, creamy homemade coconut yogurt made from coconut flesh—without the fillers and thickeners found in store bought coconut yogurt. If you do this entirely from… Read more

Juice Cleanse: Starting the New Year Right

Juicing is an excellent way to detox from the excesses of the holiday season and start the new year healthy and light. January is the… Read more

Green Clean: Kitchen Products Review

Full Circle Neat Nut Walnut Scour Pads Who knew that walnut shells could be so useful? These scour pads are tough enough to handle pots… Read more

Raw Coconut Mango Smoothie

This smoothie tastes a bit like a mango lassie. It’s made with raw, whole food and includes no additional sweeteners, no dairy, nuts or soy.… Read more

South Indian Lime Rice

This South Indian rice dish is easy to make and, besides being delicious, also has the added benefit of turmeric, a powerful anti-inflamatory. Ingredients 2… Read more

Drink Tulsi Tea and Ward Off the Flu

Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a remarkably delicious way to ease stress and boost your immune system this flu season. Many of you… Read more