Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Plastic, Storage, and Considerations

Plastic containers are pretty much everywhere. You can't get away from them. Many manufacturers use plastic because it's inexpensive, difficult to break or damage, and easy to seal in a way that's clear to see. Unfortunately it's also something that stacks up pretty fast and needs to be recycled, reused, and in general reduced. So many foods come in plastic containers. I would wager to say even that most food at any grocery is packaged in plastic.

However, most plastic is recyclable. Be sure you know where there's a recycling centre in your area, or recycling bins. If your service for rubbish or garbage accepts recyclables, look into their recycling programme. You can find plenty of information on recycling programmes near you simply by using your internet savvy and doing a search! Most places will have an accessible area for the public to bring their recyclables. If not, get some like-minded people together and appeal to the city to have one. Every place should have one. Now, more than ever, recycling is essential to the world and everyone and everything in it.

You can also reduce plastic waste by reusing plastic containers after they are emptied. Tubs of butter or margarine are easy to clean and keep, and they make great containers for holiday sweets, to give to a friend! They're also perfect economical storage for leftovers.

If you use plastic bags to store things, don't just throw them out or recycle them after one use! These can easily be cleaned and reused many times. If gently used and not used for particularly aromatic things for long periods of time, plastic bags can be used effectively for months or more.

But there is one thing you must never do, and it's true with glass containers as much as it is plastic and others:

Never store empty containers with their lids on!

You may have heard that plastic absorbs scents and flavours easily. It's true, it does. However, glass also has a memory of certain things stored in it, and if it's stored empty with a lid on, the aromas have time to waft around inside. This makes the scent much stronger, and it may affect food stored in it afterwards.

By storing containers with their lids stored separately, you reduce this. Be sure to keep the lids close by and make sure they're organised so that you can find a lid when you need one. But don't even place them over the top of the container; it will still trap in air and still make it stale and quickly scented. And that can affect the longevity of your containers.

Similarly, don't store plastic bags sealed, because the air can become stale in them, and if they ever stored anything with much of a scent, it can enhance that scent and make it difficult to get it out.

However, even if this happens, there are ways to work around it. For example, if you store something in a plastic container and the container is affected with the scent, store the same thing in it next time. It's especially handy if you regularly eat this food or use this ingredient. You can have containers dedicated to its storage!

If oil is left behind in a container, hot water will generally cut through it, with a good soap. You may have to soak some containers for a little while before washing. The hotter the water is, the better! But don't go to boiling, because some plastic can be melted if it becomes too hot. Glass, however, can be completely cleaned and sterilised by boiling it, just make sure the container is safe to be boiled. Most of the time, boiling glass containers will also eliminate any scents clinging to them.

So many things can be reused, again and again, before recycling. By reducing our consumption and by using things that we have, instead of continuing to buy more things we don't need, we'll help everyone and everything.

Just remember: lids don't belong on empty containers!

Until next time...

};) Dhiar <3