Adios Tupperware

3-Tier To-Go Ware "Tiffin" Set

For the last few months I’ve been searching on-line for the best alternative to plastic storage containers. Not only am I trying to eliminate plastic from our lives because of their environmental impact, but also for the health risks associated with plastics containing bisphenol-A (BPA). Possible hormonal disorders and cancer have been linked to BPA. I thought I would have time to search out and find the perfect containers, since I’m using the trusted All-American Tupperware. Alas, Tupperware isn’t what I thought it was all cracked up to be. Not only does the old Rock ‘n Serve contain BPA, but so does their latest update, Vent ‘n Serve. So what are guys like us to do?

Well, luckily we just happened to stumble upon the latest copy of Cook’s Illustrated which seems to have solved the problem. Not only did the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen test different plastic food storage containers, all BPA free, but they also have a recommendation for those of us who want to eliminate plastic all together. The Kinetic Go Green (also sold as Glasslock by Snapware) is their recommended glass option, and it’s also available on Amazon, but it isn’t oven-safe so we’re also considering Anchor Hocking’s TrueSeal containers. Whatever we decide, the Tupperware will be gone after we return from our trip to London and Paris.

Thank you Cook’s Illustrated for solving a dilemma that has been haunting me for months. Not only am I thinking about purchasing a set or two of Kinetic or TrueSeal, I’m also going to renew my subscription  to Cook’s Illustrated!

Steve’s had his eye on a stainless steel stacking “Tiffen” set from To-Go Ware. They remind him of his days living in Tampa, Florida years ago where he noticed folks in the Cuban community using these tins for lunches they retrieved from restaurants that specialized in this style of take-out. I picked up a 3-tier set from Cole Hardware. A simple purchase that left him grinning from ear to ear.

Now the new dilemma, donate the old Tupperware to someone else who may be poisoned by the chemicals from which it is made or toss it into the landfill where it will remain until the end of time. In the immortal words of Bart Simpson, Ay Caramba!

So, how’s the plastic-free life going?

Its been a little over a week since we started our low-impact diet. To remind people of what this diet consists of, it’s a lifestyle change to go plastic-free. The concern for the ocean, ground water, and our health has started us on this change. To keep me motivated I’ve been reading No-Impact Man, and thinking about what impact I’m leaving on the planet. I can honestly say that I have not used any new plastic wrap or baggies in the week since starting. And aside from the minor set back, Steve as well has stopped his use. I sort of feel like I’m in AA. If only there was such a place for plastic addicts. Maybe a support group needs to be started. “Hi, my name is Jason and I’m addicted to plastic.”

I have to say that giving up plastic wrap hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. When we make our bread we have replaced plastic wrap with a damp kitchen towel to cover the dough as it proofs. A left over half an onion or lemon now goes into a Tupperware container, or glass jar. Steve’s sandwiches are going into containers now too, instead of tossing them into plastic baggies. It’s really amazing what other items you can find to store food in when you make a conscious effort  to not use plastic.

Our goal is that by the end of the year we will no longer have a trash can in our apartment. I know most of you are thinking, that’s not possible? Where will you throw away your trash? First, we plan on reusing containers. Glass jars are great for storing items, and for buying things in bulk. Second, composting is such an easy thing to do. Even things like tissue paper used to blow ones nose can be composted. Third, recycle. As a last resort if we can’t compost or reuse something we will recycle it. And the things that can’t be reused, composted, or recycled we will need to eliminate from our lives. I think it’s the least we can do for living in such a wonderful place like America.

Remember the public service announcement from the 1970’s with the Native American looking over the trash dump with tears running down his face. The caption was something like, “People start pollution, people can stop it.” Well, I don’t want to pollute America any longer. Look, plastic is a petroleum by-product, which essentially is just waste from petroleum refinement for fuels. (I won’t even go there about petroleum.) So, if plastic is just waste to begin with, and the only place it ends up is in our water supply and landfill, aren’t we all just wasting America every time we use it?

I’ll get off my soapbox for now and return to the topic of our blog in the next entry, good sustainable food. Occasionally we will keep you updated about our progress and let you know of clever ways we’re going without plastic. Like in the next few days I plan to write about our attempt at making home-made kefir and yogurt. This is in an effort to stop buying the yogurt and kefir in plastic containers. In the meantime, if you’re keeping up on our blog and trying to reduce your impact, think twice about using plastic wrap or plastic baggies. There are better alternatives out there that won’t trash our world.