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Recycle & reuse your glass bottles and jars

There are 100's if not thousands of uses for used glass containers. Bottles or jars, it doesn't matter, you can use to store food or use as a decorator item around the house or to give to as a gift. I've included some images here to inspire but there are many more to explore on your computer.

But there is a far more important message here for reusing glass in preference to plastic to store your food. Some food containers are safer than others when it comes to personal and environmental health. Here's what you need to know.

  • On the bottom of plastic food storage containers, you’ll find a tiny triangle with a number (resin identification code) in it, ranging from 1 to 7, indicating the type of plastic. In general, the safest choices for food use are numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. That's because number 3 is vinyl or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), 6 is polystyrene and 7 can be various plastics. Some plastic containers with the resin codes of 3 and 7 may contain Bisphenol-A (BPA).

  • BPA is a chemical used in manufacturing polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, including some food packaging. Since BPA can leach from plastic containers into foods and beverages, especially when the containers are heated, it may pose a potential risk to the environment and your health, notably your children's health.

  • Though poly-carbonate plastic is strong and long-lasting, it can break down over time from high temperatures and overuse. Never microwave foods in plastic food containers, including margarine tubs and restaurant carryout containers. Plastic containers from packaged microwavable meals shouldn't be reused after their initial use; they're safely designed for one-time-use only.

  • Recycle as appropriate. Not enough people are doing so. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. only recycled about 14 percent of plastic containers and packaging in 2012. Nearly 12 million tons was disposed! This can contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, impacting the health of the environment.

Choose Glass
  • Glass is overall a safer bet for food storage than plastic. Glass can be safely used for hot foods or liquids. (Ceramic, stoneware or stainless steel containers can be safe bets, too.)

  • Use and reuse. You can reuse glass containers since they don't pose harmful risks to environmental or personal health. They don't leach potentially harmful chemicals when in contact with food.

Pick plastic food containers that are appropriate for food storage. Generally if they are cheap they are also probably nasty. Use them for cold food storage or better still get a vacuum sealer system - not as expensive as you might think. They can be ideal for transporting food. Choose glass containers most often. Use them for cold or hot foods. They're ideal for home food storage. When in doubt, pass on plastic; choose with glass.

...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE!

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