The 9 Best Plastic-Free Storage Containers of 2022

Our top pick is Ball Mason Jars.

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Row of glass containers with food

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Plastic is ubiquitous. It’s in our homes, offices, and schools. Its longevity is sometimes a good thing, like those handy recycled park benches that can withstand the elements. Yet plastic’s staying power comes with some serious drawbacks.

It doesn’t decompose like organic matter, so it often breaks up into tinier and tinier pieces called microplastics (particles less than 5 millimeters) which may be found in our bodies, the soil, alpine environments, and oceans.

These remnants have consequences we don't yet fully understand. Once plastic ends up in a marine environment, for example, it enters ocean currents like particulate smog and can collect into plastic trash islands. The mass of one of these islands—the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—is estimated to be approximately 80,000 tons, a weight equivalent to 500 Jumbo Jets. Ocean plastics impact aquatic life like seabirds and sea turtles who ingest the microplastics or get caught in plastic trash like fishing nets.

Fortunately, there are many small things that we can do to reduce plastic waste and to prevent plastic from entering the environment in the first place. We can avoid single-use plastics (like bottled water) whenever possible and switch to reusable products for storing our leftovers, our kitchen pantry dry goods, or carrying our lunches.

You certainly can repurpose tins and jars from other grocery items, but if you’re looking to invest in some new storage containers, we have some suggestions. All our recommendations have plastic-free bodies, but a few use silicone seals and durable plastic lids.

Read on to get our top picks for plastic-free storage containers.

Best Overall: Ball Regular Mouth 32-Ounces Quart Mason Jars

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Ball Mason Jars

Courtesy of Amazon

These iconic vessels have been handed down from your grandma for a reason. Beyond canning and preserving, use them for storing sauces, dressings and leftovers in the fridge, dry goods in your cupboards, or taking your food on the go. They’re inexpensive and come in sizes ranging from a half-cup to a gallon. They're also easy to pour out of and will keep dry goods ranging from oatmeal to corn meal fresher longer.

Best Budget: Weck Tulip Jar Combo Pack

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Weck Storage Jars

Courtesy of Amazon

Designed by a German pioneer of water bath canning, Weck glass jars are safe for refrigerating, microwaving, and freezing. They have glass lids, a rubber gasket, and stainless-steel clamps keep food safely sealed in. They're easy to clean, durable, budget-friendly, and available in multiple shapes and sizes. They also stack nicely, look good even on your countertop, and last a very long time.

Best Glass: Williams Sonoma Olivewood & Glass Canister

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Williams Sonoma Olivewood & Glass Canister

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma

Container lids can often be a roadblock for completely parting ways with plastic. These sleek mouth-blown clear glass containers are the exception. The beautiful sustainably-sourced olivewood lids come complete with silicon gaskets to seal in freshness. They're also quite attractive sitting on your counter or in your cupboard.

Best Metal: Eco Lunch Box Round Stainless Steel Tri-Bento

Round Stainless Steel Tri-Bento

Metal stackable lunchboxes have long been utilized in many cultures. These plastic-free vessels excel at food storage in your fridge or pantry. This one features three compartments and measures four inches high with a 5.25-inch diameter. Thanks to the adjustable metal clamps, the lids stay on for easy and safe transport of your lunch or leftovers from your favorite restaurant. One downside is that you cannot microwave in these containers.

Best Produce Bag: Simple Ecology Muslin Reusable Produce Bags

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Simple Ecology Reusable Organic Cotton Muslin Produce Bags

 Courtesy of Amazon

These reusable organic cotton sacks are great for transporting produce home from the market. Using a breathable baggie can prolong the shelf life of your fresh fruit and veggies because they allow for proper air flow and allow ethylene gas to escape. We like the six-pack from Simple Ecology for its versatility, but the company also offers other combo packs in various sizes. The company uses GOTS certified muslin for the bags.

Best Wooden: Miraclekoo Wooden Lunch Box

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Miraclekoo Wooden Lunch Box

Courtesy of Amazon

Inspired by classic and stylish Japanese bento boxes, this wooden lunch box from Miraclekoo is is BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. The separator is removable and allows you to store multiple items in the same box. A strap is included to ensure that food stays in the box. Note that this box does require hand-washing and that some foods can stain its surface, so it's probably best for dry foods such nuts, dry snacks or vegetable sticks if you are worried about cleaning it.

Best Bamboo: Ekobo Bamboo Storage Jar XL

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Ekobo BAMBOO STORAGE JAR XL - BLACK

Courtesy of Ekobo

Made of sustainable bamboo bases and cork lids these food storage containers are made from 100 percent sustainable materials. They’re also BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. Their charming design and handsome colors spruce up the kitchen while safely storing tea, flour, coffee, and spices. Ekobo offers these jars in small, large and extra large sizes. They're top-rack dishwasher safe (minus the lids), but be aware you can't use these in the microwave.

Best Leak-Proof: Glasslock 18-Piece Assorted Oven Safe Container Set

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glasslock-18-piece-assorted-oven-safe-container-set

Amazon

The lids of these Glasslock containers are BPA-free plastic, but they are fitted with a seal and locking clamps that help prevent leaks. The base is made from recyclable glass. Leftovers go easily from the fridge to the microwave or oven safely–but you will need to remove the lid before heating. They clean up easily in the dishwasher. The nesting design allows for handy storage, and it's super-handy to be able to see what's stored inside each container.

Best Sandwich Bag: BeeBAGZ Family Pack

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BeeBAGZ

BeeBAGZ

Carrying a collection of glass jars and containers to school or work can get pretty heavy and inconvenient (and we don't recommend glass for kids), but these beeswax bags are a lightweight option for bringing food on the go. Made from wax-infused cotton, the wax warms up with the heat of your hands to make a seal. Beeswax products should only be hand washed in cool water and air-dried, but each one can last for more than a year. When it comes to the end of its life, this baggie is fully compostable.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for affordable storage, classic Ball Mason jars are budget-friendly, available in multiple sizes, and last for decades. For packing snacks and lunches, the lightweight, reusable 100 percent cotton and beeswax storage bags Bee Bagz are a great investment and will last about a year with repeated hand washings.

What to Look for in Plastic-Free Storage Containers

Recyclable Materials

Plastic does not biodegrade, so disposing of your worn plastic containers potentially only adds to landfills. Many other materials are more sustainable, such as wood, bamboo, glass, or stainless steel, which can be recycled.

Easy to Clean

Consider how you'll be using your storage containers. For wet foods, dishwasher safe products made from glass are a good bet. For vegetables in the crisper, washable muslin bags are useful and infinitely reusable. Beeswax wipe clean and air dry. Make sure you follow your manufacturer's cleaning instructions, too, such as not using abrasives on stainless or soap on beeswax, so that your containers last longer.

Air-tight

Some containers look good but aren't air-tight. If you're storing foods such as beans, flour, or rice, you'll want containers that seal out moisture to keep items fresh and prevent food waste.

Leak-proof

Depending on how you plan to use your container, be aware that all of them aren't leakproof. While a Mason jar with screw-on lid will not spill, a bamboo storage jar with cork lid doesn't seal tightly. Like anything else in the kitchen, choose the right tool for the right job to prevent food waste.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Author Heidi Wachter has been writing about the health and environmental impacts of plastic for years. Her passion is helping people find more sustainable and safer replacements for single and multi-use plastic.

Arricca SanSone updated this article based on reviews, company sustainability practices, and durability. She inherited a huge collection of Ball Mason jars from her Gram, and she uses them for canning and also for storing dry goods in her pantry every day.