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Best Plastic-Free Storage Alternatives: Little Green Nudges

Best Plastic-Free Storage Alternatives: Little Green Nudges

If you feel trapped in an endless journey to live a plastic-free life, you’re not alone. But instead of feeling overwhelmed, you can start your journey towards a plastic-free life in just six easy steps.  First, we’ll tour your kitchen, offering tips and ideas for the best plastic-free storage alternatives to the old has-beens. Then, we’ll dive under the bed to finally replace that old, cracked plastic tub with other options that’ll keep your clothes stylishly clean and fresh. Finally, we’re bringing the kids, partner, or dog for a splash-resistant outdoor adventure—where plastic isn’t wanted or needed.

When you’re ready to start, scroll below to Begin Your Plastic-Free Journey in the Kitchen!

Best Plastic-Free Storage Alternatives: EcoKarma’s Picks

Here’s a quick rundown of the brands and products we have researched and selected for you. We’ve put them in 6 steps for you to browse, including some accessories to accompany your new plastic-free storage alternatives. Contact us if we missed out on your favorite!

Quick Look: Top Picks

  1. U Konserve: A zero-waste lifestyle
  2. Life Without Plastic: Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy
  3. Stasher: Save What Matters
  4. BigBiteEco: Buy It Once. Use Less Plastic. Save More Food. Simple
  5. Ball®: Canning Supplies and More
  6. Beeswax Cloths: How to make your OWN!!!
  7. Turnco Wood Goods: Small Batch Manufacturing Company
  8. Ekobo: Reusable is Beautiful
  9. Kenyan Crafts Company Ancient African Craft Traditions
  10. The Laundress Taking the Chore out of Doing the Laundry 
  11. S’Well: Better Together
  12. ECOlunchbox: Healthy for People & the Planet

Closer Look: Best Plastic-Free Storage 6 Step Journey

Step 1: Replace ‘leftovers’ storage with new waste-free lunch packing alternatives.

Here are two amazing products that you can swap paper and plastic for. They also make lunch-packing easy and fun to help you resist the urge to get takeout on the regular!

1. U Konserve

The B-Corp and 1% for the Planet Pick

U Konserve: A zero-waste lifestyle | Product: 7 oz. Container | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: 1 piece Price: 

U Konserve offers a variety of lid options, including silicone ones. But this one is made from stainless steel, which is durable, easy to sanitize, and long-lasting. So there’s no worry about clogging up the bin or landfill with excess plastic waste. 

Even better? Not only does the U Konserve brand have B-Corp certification, but they’re a member of 1% for the Planet. That means they care about who’s making their products. Plus, they also donate between 1% and 5% of their profits to environmental charities.

Pro-tip: When you’re ready to upcycle your metal cans, turn them into an afternoon project with the kids.

People Like:

  • Good for freezer storage
  • Great for finger food for the kids

People Dislike:

  • Costly 
  • Not leakproof

2. Life Without Plastic

The Author’s Pick

Life Without Plastic: Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy | Product: Set of 5 Nestable Stainless Steel Round Airtight Watertight Containers | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty:  Set of 5 Price: 

Yes, they’re pricey. But these nesting containers are airtight, leakproof and stainless steel, which means they’re super durable. Use them in the pantry, freezer, or on the go for bento or lunchbox meals when you’re sitting at your desk. 

Quality products mean there’s no planned obsolescence, and you won’t have to buy the same thing twice! That means you’ll save money over time.

Pro-tip: Old Tupperware is excellent for organizing that kitchen junk drawer or office products.

People Like:

  • Food stays fresh
  • Have owned them for years

People Dislike:

  • Costly 

Step 2. Choose a new multi-use freezer, dishwasher, and microwave-safe storage.

Sustainable storage in the kitchen is only effective if you can use it for everything. Check out these multi-use plastic-free storage options!

3. Stasher

The Multiuse Pick

Stasher: Save What Matters | Product: Reusable Silicone Stand-up Trio | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: Set of 3 Price: 

But isn’t silicone plastic? Not exactly. Silicone is so much more durable and reusable than your average thick plastic with snap-on lids that turns super fragile after too many washes and trips to the freezer for weekend stays. So, how is it sustainable? 

Because you’re replacing those single-use sandwich bags that float away from a landfill, wander the sea, and then end up in a tortoise or whale’s gut. And the EPA doesn’t consider them harmful to the environment. But they’re long-lasting, so pick a color that your 90-year-old you will like.

Stasher has listed some quick tips on how to keep their silicone bags clean, fresh and stain-free.

People Like:

  • They hold a lot
  • The only one that works for fruit

People Dislike:

  • Difficult to fill

4. BigBiteEco

The Company That Visits its Sources Pick

BigBiteEco: Buy It Once. Use Less Plastic. Save More Food. Simple | Product: Sustainable Silicone Reusable Ziplock Bag Set of All 4 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: Set of 4 Price: 

Silicone bags are dishwasher safe, but BigBiteEco recommends that you hand wash any platinum silicone products for longer-lasting wear. (That makes sense considering the price tag.) Still, when they wear out, you can recycle the bags or return them directly to the company! 

BigBiteEco bags are suitable for fish, meat, veggies, greens and herbs, and even soup, but they will stain over time, especially with hot animal fats.

Still not convinced? Check out this link where you can make your own sandwich wraps!

Step 3. Replace the non-recyclable standby-aluminum, with traditional storage.

You can repurpose old jars, replace lids, or find lid-alternatives for your glass storage. There are so many great options to step away from non-recyclable items in your pantry.

5. Ball

The Tried and True Pick

Ball: Canning Supplies and More | Product: Wide Mouth Glass Mason Jars | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: Set of 12 Price: 

The iconic mason jars were invented in the 1850s by John Landis Mason. Initially, their color was a cool aqua and known colloquially by the manufacturing town’s name in New Jersey. 

Today, these “Crowleytown Jars” are still just as durable and useful as ever.

Had Mr. Mason lived through a pandemic, he’d have watched his sales boom to the largest ever in 144 years of manufacturing. Sadly, however, he was penniless when he died. 

Pro-tip: got a meal train coming up? Use mason jars!

People Like:

  • Quality jars

People Dislike:

  • Check out the return and damages policy when you buy from third-party online marketplaces!

6. Beeswax Cloths

The Do it Yourself Pick

Beeswax Cloths: How to make your OWN!!! | Product: Your Choice | Dishwasher Safe: No |

Qty: Your Choice Price: 

Waxing fabric for food storage is traceable back to the Egyptians. But with one fell swoop of plastic wrapping materials in the 1940s, these useful, functional, and traditional food storage helpers almost disappeared.

The best part about waxed cloth is that you can make them yourself and skip the retailers altogether. Purchase a waxing kit if you like the convenience. Or follow a quick tutorial from Mountain Rose Herbs and pick the fabric colors, shapes and sizes you like best.

Not ready to ditch the cling yet? Read this article, and you might change your mind!

People Like:

  • Breathable
  • Reusable and sustainable

People Dislike:

  • Has a subtle beeswax flavor.
  • It won’t keep food from drying out.

Step 4. Declutter your pantry to inspire bulk shopping.

Here are two great choices to help you on your bulk-shopping journey. For more options visit our article on bulk storage!

7. Turnco Wood Goods

The Artisan Pick

Turnco Wood Goods: Small Batch Manufacturing Company | Product: Stout Jars with Walnut Lids | Dishwasher Safe: Handwash |

Qty: Set of 3 Price: 

I wouldn’t normally advocate driving three hundred miles for an expensive product, but we’re talking about the San Juan Islands in Washington State. So, if you’ve yet to take the opportunity to see extraordinary wildlife and need the perfect family vacation spot, stop by Turnco Wood Goods while you’re there.

Pro-tip: like the product but not the price tag? Check out these alternatives found on Amazon.

Hate driving long-distances? Turnco ships directly to your house. And what you’ll receive in the mail is as good as any Marie Kondo product—even if the price tag is a bit enthusiastic for the average budget.

8. Ekobo

The Responsibly-Sourced, Traceable and Transparent Pick

Ekobo: Reusable is Beautiful | Product: Bamboo Large Storage Set | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: Set of 3 Price: 

Ekobo’s products are 1/3 the previous pantry declutter-er price, making them affordable right out of the gate. Their bamboo fibers with food-grade resin coating make them sustainable and reusable. A cork lid fits snugly on top so that you can stack away! 

Because of the bamboo base, expect them to biodegrade in 2-3 years. (That’s just how this bamboo works.) While you won’t find any BPAs, Phthalates, Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, or PVC, you will discover great-looking color-popping designs in this plastic alternative.

Pro-tip: have leftover cork lids? Turn them into pin cushions or drink trivets.

People Like:

  • Lids are snug
  • Dishwasher safe

People Dislike:

  • The cork doesn’t seal well.

Step 5. Declutter your closet and under-bed storage space from season to season.

Plastic-free storage goes well beyond the kitchen. Rubbermaid bins can step aside for less bulky, and more stylish sustainable storage options for your closets and bedrooms.

9. Kenyan Crafts Company

The Ancient Traditions Pick

Kenyan Crafts Company: Ancient African Craft Traditions | Product: Recycled Wool and Natural Sisal Baskets | Dishwasher Safe: Spot Clean |

Qty: One Price: 

Clothing liners may have a PVC coating, which makes them harmful and even carcinogenic. However, these baskets are 100% natural. But what makes them excellent alternatives to plastic storage is that they provide indigenous women with job security—especially in a traditionally patriarchal society. 

That means when you buy one, you’re supporting not just one proprietor but generations of women and children. Unfortunately, open-top wool baskets don’t work for cashmere sweaters, but they’re perfect for cotton shorts, jeans and t-shirts!

People Like:

  • Beautifully made
  • Sturdy and well-crafted

People Dislike:

  • Not as bright as in the photos

10. The Laundress

The 20% Off Your First Purchase Pick

The LaundressTaking the Choreout of Doing the Laundry | Product: Canvas Underbed Storage bag | Dishwasher Safe: Spot Clean |

Qty: One Price: 

Breathable, durable cotton bags replace those old plastic containers and plastic vacuum-sealed packs for under-bed storage. Remember to store freshly washed clothes, so you’re much happier pulling them out of storage the next season you can wear them.

Each product arrives inside recycled shipping material, and the company takes care to offset the carbon emitted during shipping as members of the UPS Carbon Offset Program

People Like:

  • Sturdy
  • Prevents critters, dust and dampness

People Dislike:

  • The zipper isn’t long enough.
  • Isn’t big enough for a king-sized comforter

Step 6. Take your loved ones on a plastic-free picnic, travel or outdoor adventure.

Let’s take sustainability on-the-road with plastic-free storage that will spruce up any picnic or adventure you have planned.

11. S’Well

The Philanthropic Pick

S’Well: Better Together | Product: 21 oz. Teakwood Eats Food Bowl | Dishwasher Safe: Yes, Top Rack |

Qty: One Price: 

The S’Well food bowl is a two-part system of picnic and travel-friendly travel gear. That’s why it can retain heat or keep things cold for so long. But this also means that while the inner bowl is microwave, refrigerator and freezer safe—the outer bowl is not. 

S’Well is also one of those great companies with a mission. They want to rid the world of the single-use plastic clogging our oceans and harming the marine life and ecosystems we depend on. Every time you purchase one of their products, a portion of the proceeds supports organizations like Lonely Whale.

People Like:

  • Great size and design
  • Food stays hot or cold for a long time.

People Dislike:

  • Deceptive Size
  • No handles or grips

12. ECOlunchbox

The Hiking, Trail Running, and Canicross Pick

ECOlunchbox: Healthy for People & the Planet | Product: 24 oz Blue Water Splash Box Bento | Dishwasher Safe: Yes |

Qty: One Price: 

ECOlunchbox designed The Blue Water Splash Box™ with the ocean in mind. Its stainless steel case and silicone lid are perfect for those wild, outdoor adventures, and you don’t have to worry about contributing to plastic waste that can enter our oceans.

Instead, you get a leak-proof, sustainable and durable lunch box. Plus, it’s made by a company that’s proud to offset its carbon, reduce plastics in landfills (or the ocean). All of which can contribute to your bottom line every time you pack a lunch versus eat out. 

I love saving money, don’t you?

People Like:

  • Great size and design
  • Food stays hot or cold for a long time.

People Dislike:

  • Deceptive Size
  • No handles or grips

Final pro-tip: sustainable also means being frugal and watching your bank account. But in this “click-buy” world, many people want it now. My advice? Just fix or replace one thing at a time when it’s the right time. Eventually, it’ll all come together.


Meet Your Author

amy w.

Amy Wolkenhauer has been a full-time freelance writer since 2014. Her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability complement each other.

Combined, these degrees provide her with the communication tools necessary to create tangible links between scientists, stakeholders, marketplace & policy actors with communities everywhere.