Plastic, Glass, or Stainless-Steel: Best Food Storage Containers Material?

Plastic, Glass, or Stainless-Steel: Best Food Storage Containers Material?

When it comes to keeping food fresh, whether it's last night's lasagna or your lunch for work, the material of your food storage containers plays a pivotal role. From plastic to glass and stainless steel, each option has its pros and cons, not just for storing food but also for how they travel and how you clean them. Here, we'll dive into the differences between these materials, how to keep them in tip-top shape, and when it's time for a replacement.

Plastic Containers:

Plastic containers are incredibly common but prone to showing age through stains and absorbing odors. The key is to be mindful of their lifespan, especially since certain chemicals, like BPA found in some plastics, can seep into food when heated. Look for signs of wear such as cracks or discoloration as indicators it's time for a new container. Despite their convenience, some plastic containers require hand washing to avoid warping and damage from high dishwasher temperatures, particularly the thinner, more flexible kinds.

Glass Containers:

Glass stands out as an eco-friendly and durable choice. It's particularly suited for home storage, given its heftiness. However, its weight and size might make it less ideal for on-the-go meals. Glass's transparency is a bonus for easily spotting what you've stored. While very long-lasting, a chip or crack in glassware is a signal that it needs to be replaced. Thankfully, glass containers are dishwasher safe, simplifying cleaning.

Stainless Steel Containers:

Gaining popularity for their eco-friendliness, stainless steel containers offer durability without the risk of absorbing odors or flavors. The trade-off is that you can't see inside them, and they're not suitable for microwave or oven use. Despite these limitations, their robustness and ease of cleaning (yes, they're dishwasher safe!) make them a strong contender. Any marks or scratches are generally superficial and don't compromise their usefulness.

FAQs Related to Food Storage Containers Materials

What are the benefits of using glass food storage containers over plastic ones?

Glass food storage containers offer several advantages over their plastic counterparts. Firstly, glass is non-porous, meaning it doesn't absorb food colors, odors, or flavors, ensuring that leftovers stay fresh and untainted. Glass containers are also inherently free from chemicals like BPA and phthalates, which are often a concern with plastic containers, especially when used for heating food in microwaves. Furthermore, glass can safely transition from the freezer to the oven without risk of shattering (as long as it's tempered glass designed for temperature changes), making it extremely versatile for food preparation and storage.


Can stainless steel food storage containers be used in microwaves?

Stainless steel food storage containers should not be used in microwaves. Metal reflects microwaves, which can cause sparks and potentially damage the microwave or start a fire. Furthermore, metal blocks the waves from warming the food, leading to unevenly heated or still cold food. For microwave use, it's best to opt for containers specifically labeled as microwave-safe, typically made of glass or certain plastics designed to withstand the heat and energy produced by microwaves.

Are there any foods that shouldn't be stored in plastic containers, and why?

Yes, certain foods should be avoided in plastic containers, primarily due to health concerns and the risk of chemical contamination:

  • Hot Foods: Placing hot foods in plastic containers can increase the likelihood of chemicals like BPA and phthalates leaching into the food, especially in non-BPA-free plastics.

  • Acidic Foods: Foods that are acidic, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits, can break down plastic over time, leading to leaching of plastic chemicals into the food.

  • Fatty Foods: Fats can bind with chemicals found in plastics, facilitating the transfer of these chemicals into the food. This is particularly concerning with foods high in fat content, such as meats and cheeses.

  • Highly Spiced Foods: Spices and strong flavors can also lead to chemical leaching and may also stain and hold onto odors, affecting the quality and safety of stored food.

For these types of foods, glass or stainless steel containers are recommended to avoid health risks and maintain the integrity of the food's flavor and safety.

Can You Recycle Plastic Storage Containers?

Yes, many plastic storage containers can be recycled, but it depends on the type of plastic they are made of and the recycling policies of your local area. Most plastic containers come with a recycling symbol that includes a number inside a triangle of arrows, indicating the type of plastic they are made of. This number, ranging from 1 to 7, helps determine whether the plastic can be recycled in your area.


  1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate): Often used for beverage bottles and many food containers. Generally recyclable.
  2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene): Used in jugs, sturdy containers, and toys. Widely recyclable.
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Found in some food wrap, cooking oil bottles, and plumbing pipes. Rarely recycled due to potential health risks.
  4. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene): Used for bags, wraps, and some containers. Increasingly accepted by recycling programs.
  5. PP (Polypropylene): Common for yogurt containers, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. Increasingly accepted by recycling programs.
  6. PS (Polystyrene): Used in Styrofoam containers, egg cartons, disposable cups and plates. Rarely recycled due to processing difficulty and environmental impact.
  7. Other: A category for plastics that do not fit into the other categories, including bioplastics, polycarbonate, and more. Recycling availability varies greatly.

Are Glass Storage Containers Better Than Plastic?

Glass storage containers offer distinct advantages over plastic ones, particularly in terms of environmental impact and health safety. Being made from natural materials, glass is completely recyclable without losing quality, allowing it to be reused indefinitely, which significantly reduces its environmental footprint. Furthermore, glass does not contain harmful chemicals that can leach into food or beverages, making it a safer choice for storing consumables. Its non-porous nature also prevents the absorption of odors and flavors, ensuring that stored items remain untainted.

However, the practicality of using glass versus plastic containers varies based on individual needs and circumstances. While glass is durable and can potentially last a lifetime, its heavier weight and susceptibility to breakage may not be suitable for all users, especially those frequently on the move or with young children. On the other hand, plastic containers offer convenience with their lightweight and unbreakable properties, despite concerns over chemical leachates and environmental degradation.

If you are in need of custom food storage containers, in glasses or plastic, contact MR.SIGA as we've been making these containers for decades and can fully tailor them based on your industry or brand!

Artículo anterior
Siguiente post