FOOD STORAGE: Glass or ceramic containers with lids are a great solution.
FOOD STORAGE: Glass or ceramic containers with lids are a great solution. Contributed

What food storage containers should we use?

THERE are alternatives to using plastic containers in the kitchen, but if you have to use them, then be aware of how long to keep the plastic and how to get rid of old ones.

Deakin University plastics expert Dr Trevor Thornton suggests we look at what our grandparents used to do.

"I think we should go back to doing what our grandparents did. Go have a look in their cupboard and replicate it," he said.

The best choice for food storage is glass or ceramic containers. They can last for a very long and are easy to keep clean.

Add one that has an airtight lid and you have a super storage choice.

While it probably won't be possible to recycle these types of containers, at least they can be used over and over again for many years to come.

You can also replace clear film-wrap, which can't be recycled, with reusable food covers which can be purchased from supermarkets and online.

Since most homes have plastic containers Dr Thornton suggests we use them wisely and recycle where possible.

His top tip is to watch out for containers that are scratched or cracked.

"It's also about how you care for them. I always find that hand washing will preserve them a little bit more than putting some of your plastics in the dishwasher," Dr Thornton said.

Washing them in the same way you would wash your cups and mugs is suitable Dr Thornton suggested.

When it comes to getting rid of old plastic containers, most of them can be put in the council recycle bin.

"Ice cream and margarine containers, bottles, even plastic toys can be recycled," Dr Thornton said.

However, if you are using old plastic containers, at least ones you have had for many years, you need to be wary of leaching from them.

It's called the precautionary principle when it comes to what to use and for how long."If you don't know or think it might be harmful, then don't do it," Dr Thornton counselled.

"Plastics are useful, they're cheap, but at the end of the day they have a higher impact on the environment and a negative impact on health as well."

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