The 10 Best Plastic-Free Storage Containers of 2021

Cut the plastic and food waste with these containers

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The Rundown
Beyond canning and preserving, use these jars for storing leftovers or dry goods.
Weck glass jars are safe for refrigerating, microwaving, and freezing.
These beautiful glass canisters have sustainably-sourced olivewood lids.
Thanks to the metal clamps, the lids stay on for easy and safe transport of your lunch.
These reusable organic cotton sacks are great for transporting produce home.
These containers are airtight, stackable, and space efficient. What's not to love?
Inspired by Japanese bento boxes, this wooden lunch box will keep food warm or cool.
These food storage containers are made from 100 percent sustainable materials.
The lids of these Glasslock come with locking clamps that ensure that they won’t leak.
These beeswax bags make packing snacks and lunch light and easy.

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 environmental 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) that proliferate in our bodies, the soil, alpine environments, and oceans. These plastics have nasty health and environmental impacts.

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), look for refill stations, and we can switch to reusable products for storing our leftovers, our kitchen pantry dry goods, or carrying our lunches that are made of other materials.

You can always 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

Ball Mason Jars

These iconic vessels have been handed down from your grandma for a reason. Beyond canning and preserving, use them for storing 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.

Best Budget: Weck Tulip Jar Combo Pack

Weck Storage Jars

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. Easy to clean, durable, budget-friendly, and available in multiple shapes and sizes.

Best Glass: Williams Sonoma Olivewood & Glass Canister

Williams Sonoma Olivewood & Glass Canister

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 also look pretty 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 and has a 5.25-inch diameter. Thanks to the metal clamps, the lids stay on for easy and safe transport of your lunch or leftovers from your favorite restaurant.

Best Produce Bag: Simple Ecology Muslin Reusable Produce Bags

Simple Ecology Reusable Organic Cotton Muslin Produce Bags

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.

Most Versatile: Package Free Shop Airtight Stainless Steel Containers

Airtight Stainless Steel Containers

These airtight, stackable, and space efficient, stainless steel containers keep staples like flour, sugar, beans, and coffee fresh. The bottoms are safe to use in the oven and dishwasher, but the lids have a food-grade silicone seal and should be washed by hand and kept out of the oven. The containers are available in eight sizes, and the largest size comes with a removable metal divider.

Best Wooden: Miraclekoo Wooden Lunch Box

Miraclekoo Wooden Lunch Box

Inspired by classic and stylish Japanese bento boxes, this wooden lunch box from Miraclekoo will keep food warm or cool. Unlike plastic lunch boxes, it’s also BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free. The separator is removable and allows you storage of multiple items. A strap is included to ensure that food stays in the box. Note that this box does require hand-washing.

Best Bamboo: Ekobo Bamboo Storage Jar XL

Ekobo BAMBOO STORAGE JAR XL - BLACK

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 team flour, coffee, and spices. Ekobo offers these jars in small, large and extra large sizes.

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

glasslock-18-piece-assorted-container-set

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 do remove the lid before heating. Then clean up easily using the dishwasher. The nesting design allows for handy storage.

Best Sandwich Bag: BeeBAGZ Family Pack

BeeBAGZ

Carrying a collection of glass jars and containers to school or work can get pretty heavy, but these beeswax bags are a lightweight option for bringing lunch or snacks 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, but each one can last for over 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 or transporting solutions, classic Ball jars (available at Amazon) are easy to find, budget-friendly, and reliable. If your entire pantry needs revamping, the Airtight Stainless Steel Containers (available at Package Free Shop) are available in a wide range of sizes and will easily store pasta, rice, beans, flour, and sugar.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Here are Treehugger, we want to help our readers find easy swaps to live more sustainably and reduce waste. 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.