In this post, we’re taking a close look at non-toxic glass food storage and non-toxic ceramic food storage containers as options to replace plastic food containers.
We’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using each as a non-toxic food storage container. There are 4 main alternatives to plastic food storage: glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and silicone, and here we’ll compare glass vs ceramic. This is by no means an exhaustive list. And I encourage you to use this information as a starting point to do your own research and find the option that will work best for you and your family.
Glass Food Storage Containers
Call me old-school, but my absolute favorite way to store food from the beginning of time has always been (and always will be!) glass containers. (I guess I just biased you). Glass (and ceramic) is how my mother always stored food for our family growing up. Perhaps she knew something about plastic containers that the FDA didn’t know at the time.
I remember purchasing my first set of Pyrex at Wal-mart while setting up the kitchen in my first home. I now use both Pyrex and Snapware glass storage containers, and neither has ever failed on me.
Non-toxic glass food storage is a great plastic alternative. It is a great choice if you need a neat and organized storage system for meal prep on Sundays or for portioning out leftovers from dinner.
Non-toxic glass storage containers are also great for storing chopped vegetables and fruits for snacking, tossing into smoothies, or using in recipes throughout the week.
Advantages of Non-toxic Glass Storage Containers
When you choose glass as your non-toxic food storage system, you have an item that is not only BPA-free and free of phthlates, but it is also microwave-safe, freezer-safe, dishwasher-safe, and oven-safe. Glass storage containers are also odor-resistant and stain-resistant. I’ve had some of my Pyrex containers since 2002 and they’re still going strong and look good as new. I have had to replace lids over time, but that’s to be expected.
Other advantages of non-toxic glass storage are that they can go from the refrigerator to the oven or microwave. Check the instructions when you buy glass storage though, as this may be different depending on the brand of tempered glass you choose.
Potential Disadvantages of Glass Storage Containers
Some potential disadvantages of glass storage containers are that they are definitely on the heavier side and they’re breakable. So, don’t let your kids handle these please.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the lid for most glassware is plastic, so I tend to not fill containers all the way and remove the lids if food is being microwaved.
Also, be sure that you are purchasing from a brand that makes high-quality tempered glass (like Pyrex) that is made in the USA to ensure you’re not buying inferior products made in China that are suspected to contain lead and cadmium.
2. Ceramic Food Storage Containers
Another option for food storage is ceramic. We have ceramic materials all around us including tiles, toilets, brick, cement and other materials in our homes, vehicles, electronics and many more.
“A ceramic is a material that is neither metallic nor organic. It may be crystalline, glassy or both crystalline and glassy. Ceramics are typically hard and chemically non-reactive and can be formed or densified with heat,” according to University of Maryland Department of Materials Science & Engineering.
Although ceramic is most commonly known as bakeware and cookware, it can also serve the role of food storage container.
In it’s earlier days, ceramic’s glossy, well-sculped attributes could be credited to the addition of lead and cadmium to ceramic produces. However, in more recent years the US Food and Drug Administration has issued guidelines to limit lead in food, foodwares, and dietary supplements.
The FDA has put these limits in place to assure the products are lead-safe. Notice, this is different than saying these products are “lead-free” as there is always the remote possibility that a trace amount of lead and/or cadmium could be present in any ceramic produce. There’s also the possibility that products can contain amouts of lead, cadmium, and zinc that surpass these limits. Although these limits are in place, many dishes release lead in concentrations above the FDA limits according to a study.
So, do your homework on any ceramic products you might be considering to ensure it’s within your comfort level for how you intend to use it.
Advantages of Ceramic Food Storage Containers
Like non-toxic glass storage, ceramic is oven-safe, microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, and freezer-safe. Other advantages of ceramic containers is the ability to cook or bake in them, and use the same container for storing what was made. Ceramic does not absorb food tastes or smells, and is for the most part able to resist stains. It
Potential Disadvantages of Ceramic Food Safe Containers
Like glass, ceramic is heavier than plastic. Althought it’s sturdy, some parts can be brittle (handles, lids, edges, etc) and susceptible to chipping if accidentally hit against something hard like the edge of your countertop (don’t ask me how I know). So, ceramic requires handling with care.
Lid optios for ceramics may vary and include glass, ceramic glazed, plastic, and silicone. So consider the lid options in your buying decision.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of non-toxic glass food storage containers vs ceramic containers. What type of containers are you currently using, and what concerns do you have about safe food storage? Please leave a comment below!
Alicia Hyatte is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Family Wellness Advocate, Health Educator, and a Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. She helps parents to build healthier habits and routines to better balance home and work life. Her website, WholeFamilyLiving.com, provides motivation and simple strategies for handling everyday challenges like managing stress, being active, eating healthier, losing weight, and more. Alicia is a beach lover and gardening geek in her spare time.