On Plastic Take-Out Containers and Yogurt Cups

I’ve got a big pile of hummus containers, yogurt cups, and take-out boxes in my kitchen. Aside from the trouble I encounter trying to find lids that fit, a bigger question is haunting me: Are these plastics safe to reuse? Can I use them to pack my lunch and store leftovers in the fridge?

Maybe. The safest and greenest answer is to use a sturdier alternative, like a stainless steel or glass container. That means less stuff, less waste, less trash.

And it is certainly better to reuse than to recycle. For this sort of plastic containers, though, you should be careful with food.

Some things to avoid:

  • Anything made with Plastic #7, unless you’re sure it doesn’t have BPA
  • Microwaving anything in a plastic container, especially a flimsy one that isn’t labeled
  • Putting hot food into a flimsy plastic cup or take-out dish
  • Old and scratched plastic containers

If you’ve got them lying around, try some other ideas for those old plastic containers: Use them to start small houseplants, like baby spider plants. Put them in a drawer to sort coins, or store paper clips and rubber bands. If you’ve got small kids, these can make fun bath toys. Or add them to your craft kit, so you can trace circles of different sizes!

Got any fresh ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Photo credit: Tom Magliery, via flickr

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