Metal containers made from high quality stainless steel are a great alternative to plastic. They will not leach toxins into your food, last a long time, and are easy to clean. Plastic containers are great for storing leftover meals, microwaving and holding dry ingredients but metal containers are a great reusable alternative.
This article will cover 7 reasons why metal containers are better than plastic for storing food and some disadvantages of using plastic.
I have lots of good quality plastic containers which are light and practical but it is always great to have a metal option. Check out options below including bento boxes and a combination of stainless steel bases with plastic lids.
7 Reasons why metal containers are better than plastic
Find out 7 top reasons why using stainless steel containers for storing your food is a much better choice than plastic.
Stainless steel containers are much harder than plastic containers. Metal containers do not warp like plastic does when placed in the dishwasher or microwave. If you accidentally drop your stainless steel container full of food, it is less likely to dent or split apart and can save the mess.
2. Easy to clean
Unlike plastic containers, which are easily stained by food, stainless steel containers do not pick up stains, and they are far easier to clean than plastic. Anyone who has put spaghetti sauce in a plastic container knows just how annoying it can be to deal with a stained container.
3. Resistant to Heat
With stainless steel containers, you can add your hot food to them straight from the stovetop, since they are resistant to heat (just make sure not to hold the container with your bare hands afterward). On the other hand, with plastic containers, you need to wait for your food to cool off almost completely before transferring it to the container.
4. Better for the Environment
Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, making metal containers far better for the environment than plastic ones. Also, to produce plastic materials, manufacturers need to utilize nonrenewable resources which, of course, take millions of years to form.
Stainless steel lasts much longer than plastic. I have had stainless steel containers for years now that still look in top condition. Metal bento boxes are great for packing lunches or snacks for your kids.
5. Better for Health
Unlike plastic containers, producing stainless steel containers does not involve the use of any chemical resins, plastic pieces, or silicone. This makes their use much less risky for your health than plastic.
As mentioned above, some plastics contain a chemical called BPA, or bisphenol A, which can be harmful. This is yet another reason to make the switch to stainless steel containers.
6. Last Longer
It is no secret that stainless steel lasts far longer than plastic. You could use stainless steel containers for decades, yet plastic ones start to bend, and the fibers break down over a short period of time.
As the plastic begins to degrades over time after heating, they can crack, break or become stained with the smell and color of foods. Spaghetti will stain plastic while metal containers will not be affected.
7. Cost Effective
Not only are stainless steel containers much more environmentally responsible to use, but since they last so much longer than plastic ones, their use can save you a great deal of money in the long run.
A well cared for stainless steel container can last for years, while plastic containers should only be used for 5 to 10 years, at the very most.
Stainless steel metal containers are a great option for a tough container to store food that is cold, dry or even frozen.
For more on freezing food on metal containers, check out my previous article here: Can you freeze food in metal containers?
You can get metal containers with plastic lids or made fully from stainless steel. Those with plastic lids make the container much lighter and offer a good balance between price and durability.
Disadvantages of Using Plastic Containers
Check out several disadvantages to using plastic containers which are a great reason to give metal containers a go.
Throughout the entire lifecycle of plastics, there are environmental and health risks. Plastic is actually the leading cause of pollution in the world, making the material environmentally irresponsible to both create and use.
2. Warps and Stains
You are probably already well aware that plastic containers can quickly lose their shape and warp, and they stain very easily, especially with tomato-based sauces. This can make plastic containers frustrating to use, which is a great a reason to switch to metal.
Most plastic items have been redesigned so they do not contain BPA, which is a toxic substance that can leach into your food. However, there are still some plastic containers out there that have the chemical, especially if your containers are older.
Stainless steel containers are also resistant to absorbing bacteria, while plastic containers can hold bacteria and grime in crevices and cracks.
Why Metal Containers Are Better Than Plastic: Summary
Good quality stainless steel containers are a much better option than utilizing plastic containers for long term food storage. The effects on your health and the environment could be considered to be the two most important factors in making a decision to switch to stainless steel.
If you are concerned about keeping you and your family healthy and free of toxic chemicals, stainless steel is the way to go.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.