So yes, I got the email a few years ago about plastic containers being potentially dangerous when microwaved or used to store food in the freezer or fridge. I remember suspiciously eying all the take-out food containers we were using for all our leftovers and thinking I should probably replace them. Let’s just say it didn’t make the short list of priorities.
The turning point was when Jasper, after a year + of taking hummus sandwiches in his school lunch (he’s a creature of habit), decided he wanted the fancy pants stuff his friends were taking in theirs; namely, leftovers. Totally do-able, and actually easier, right? Except that all the stuff gets nuked at school. So faced with the fact that I was probably loading him up on BPA (I have evolved enough to know the name of the enemy), I started looking around for some options.
First stop, courtesy of a suggestion from cousin Steve: Preserve Products, a BPA-free company that recycles plastics to be more environmentally friendly. They use only #5 plastics, which have not been shown to leach BPA. These are also dishwasher friendly (top rack only).
I ordered small, large and square containers, plus a colander, and a 4-pack of plates, bowls and cups. We’ve really enjoyed them; the food storage containers stack nice and neat in the fridge and the dinner ware is in constant rotation. The downside is that these cannot be microwaved. So the search continued.
I could definitely see these replacing my Ziplocs. The website says they might also replace your Tupperware, but I DON’T see that with these and besides I have my cool Preserve stuff. So these are not the answer, despite the fact that they are dishwasher safe and come in cute, Marimekko type fabrics. Alas.
Next, I found the most excellent Bento Box system from Laptop Lunches. You can buy a kit from these folks that includes a lunchbox, and multiple, different-sized containers in a variety of colors.
I bought a smaller version called “Bento Buddies” 2.0 that came with one large container good for sandwiches or pasta, one smaller and good for fruits and veggies, and two little containers, one a perfect size for hummus or some other condiment, and the last good for something even smaller (raisins?). Everything is dishwasher safe (top rack only). And the containers (not the lids) are microwave safe.
Yippee, right? Well, not exactly a home run. We’ve been using the Buddies and loving them, but I have to admit I don’t really understand the difference between these and the Preserve Plastics containers and why one can be microwaved and the other cannot. The lunchbox containers are made mostly of plastic #5 as are the Preserve Products. In the FAQ section of the Laptop Lunches site they say, “Our plastic containers are all FDA-approved for microwave use. However, some experts believe that microwaving in plastics of any kind may be hazardous. If you microwave in plastics, our containers are fine. Please note that the lids are not microwave safe.”
I’m starting to think that the BPA-free but microwave safe lunch containers are a mirage. Does anyone have any ideas out there?