There are endless reasons why mankind needs to cut down on plastic use (you know, the whole future of the planet sort of depends on it thing) but let’s keep it real here—it’s cheap, it’s widely accessible, and all of those BPA-free labels make us feel like it’s ok.  Except it really isn’t.  “There is a lot of awareness about organic and healthy foods with no additives, but parents often forget that the containers they use can contaminate this excellent nutritious food they have selected,” explains Sandra Harris, founder of ECOlunchbox, makers of family-friendly stainless steel food containers.   So what exactly is lurking inside our plastics? The answer: nothing good. 

Move Over BPA, There’s A New Estrogen-Mimicking Compound On the Block. “BPA is an estrogen-mimicking chemical that can interfere with normal body systems,” explains Sandra “So, it’s widely understood that containers should be BPA-free in order to be safe for children and all of us to use. Plastic manufacturers are now aware that people don’t want to buy plastics with BPA,” she continues. “For this reason, they have removed BPA and substituted this chemical with something called BPS, which is bisphenol substitute.  Scientists believe it has worse estrogen-mimicking properties than the original BPA.” Well, that is unsettling.  Sandra emphasizes why this is so important: “I take the time to tell the story because the plastics manufacturers use proprietary formula, so it is better to steer away from plastics whenever possible.” 

Plastic and Certain Foods Just Don’t Mix. “While safe plastics have their role in society (cars, toys, etc.) they can leach harmful chemicals when in contact with acidic or hot food or drinks,” explains Juli Shaw, co-founder and CEO of ZoLi.  On top of hot or acidic foods, parents investing in organic foods should consider plastic-free containers. “[Parents] are already investing in high-quality food for their kids, so let’s prevent it from getting contaminated by giving it to them in a healthy, safe container,” adds Sandra. 

Plastics Can Release Toxins When Heated. Plastic might not break, but it’s not as versatile as it seems.  When plastic is heated in the dishwasher or the microwave, it can release chemicals. “When it comes to food containers, it is possible to choose something that is safer made from steel, silicone or glass,” explains Sandra.  Plastic should be hand washed, never heated, and never be used to serve hot food.  Most glass, silicone, ceramic, and stainless steel tableware and food storage products are dishwasher safe, glass and silicone are also microwave and oven safe, and all are ok to serve hot food.  Not to mention, they’re way better looking. “That’s why ZoLi choose to make several lunch items with alternative materials (ceramic and stainless steel) to keep lunches waste-free, long-lasting, stylish and safe,” adds Juli. 

EDITOR’S PICKS

ECOlunchbox 3-in-1 Splash Box, $35.99

ZoLi NOSH ceramic plate + bowl set, $30 

ezpz Happy Mat, $24.99

ZoLi POW DINE insulated container, $25

Silikids silicone bowl, $11.95

ECOlunchbox Kid’s Tray, $12