Reusable food containers: Glass vs Metal

May 25, 2021

You’ve probably gotten the memo that plastic is one of the big bads polluting the ocean. It’s difficult to recycle, cheap to mass produce, is made with non-renewable petroleum, leeches toxins and degrades into microplastics. Yikes.

Did you need any more reasons to switch to sustainable alternatives? Didn’t think so. One way we can all reduce our plastic usage is by saying bye-bye to plastic takeaway containers. It’s super easy to do! Rather than getting takeaways in those single-use containers, bring your own reusable containers.

The good thing is that there are heaps of reusable containers to choose from, but which type is best? Should you go for a metal one or a glass one? To help you out, we’ve jotted down a few pros and cons to both.

But first...

Take a look around your home for whatever you already own. Sometimes, you don't need to go out of your way to buy that fancy glass container or stainless steel tiffin carrier. It's likely you already have several food containers you should put to use more frequently! If you're in the office heading out to grab a takeaway meal nearby and don't have a container on you, bring along a porcelain bowl from the office pantry. You might get a few stares along the way but it's worth it if it helps the planet! Bask in the attention, you're being an eco-champ!

Glass:

  • Infinitely recyclable, but less valuable to recycle and thus less likely to be recycled in comparison to metal
  • Smaller environmental footprint from production: Virgin glass is made from molten sand
  • Never breaks down⁣
  • Fragile: Requires more packaging for shipping
  • Heavier: Higher carbon footprint from transportation
  • More prone to breakage: Dropping your container could mean needing a new one! Be careful!

Metal:

  • Infinitely recyclable
  • Larger environmental footprint from production: Virgin metals are made with mined material
  • Breaks down in about 100 years and never fully biodegrades⁣
  • Requires less packaging for shipping
  • Lighter: lower carbon footprint from transportation
  • More durable: If you have butter fingers, this could be the better option

It's difficult to compare both materials and their true lifetime cost. However, both options help prevent disposable plastic waste. At the end of the day, it's up to you which material best suits your lifestyle! Just be sure to use your reusables and not leave them gathering dust!