Plastic-free clip lunchboxes?
November 7, 2017 6:10 PM   Subscribe

I'd really like to find an alternative to the extremely useful clip-lock plastic tupperware boxes that can carry even soups without leaking. I just would prefer not be using plastic - health reasons and just a dislike of plastic because of it not biodegrading. Is there any alternative that is similarly useful (can carry liquids)? I guess glass is not an option, as it's too heavy to carry around.
posted by tangerine_poppies to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
These are glass, not too heavy to carry around.
posted by praemunire at 6:16 PM on November 7


Stainless steel? https://www.thermos.com/food-storage.html
posted by as_night_falls at 6:18 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I use glass containers with locking lids. The lids are plastic.

Mason jars don't generally leak, (and they're cheap!) but aren't as durable as the glasslocks.
posted by quaking fajita at 6:22 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Some kind of metal tiffin or metal bento box?
tiffin

I have a cheap no-brand metal lunch bowl thing with a outer lid and inner compartment for side-dishes (the soups go in the bottom). I wouldn't describe it as leak-proof but if you pay more for a better brand, it may work.
posted by whitelotus at 6:41 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


How far are you carrying these soups that glass is too heavy? I take soup to work in a wide-mouth canning jar. I keep a microwavable bowl in my office. Pour soup from canning jar into bowl, microwave, eat, clean bowl, take jar home.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:46 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


I've even been eyeing these Klean Kanteen canisters. They look like they might suit you.
posted by missmobtown at 7:55 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I bring my soup to work in Pyrex glass bowls with lids. I don’t find it too heavy to bring one to work, but maybe you’re biking or something. You might try buying one to try out. Unfortunately, they constantly redesign the lids, so the ones I use don’t seem to be available now. I’d suggest adding “no leak” to your search and reading reviews.

I find these Anchor Hocking containers also don’t leak.

In my experience, mason jars do leak. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong.
posted by FencingGal at 7:58 PM on November 7


I carry my lunch every day in these Pyrex glass containers with silicone lids. They're not too heavy, and they're really tough. The lids stay put even on soup, but I also contain everything in a lunch bag for extra safety.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on November 7


In my experience, mason jars do leak. Perhaps I’m doing something wrong.

Yeah, they do. The ones with the bails are designed to be used with rubber seals, so if you don't have the seal, you'll have leaking. The ones with threads can be used with lids, but after you open them the first time, the lids will never again make a perfect seal. Non-liquids are best for these.
posted by Miko at 8:01 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Corning makes ceramic soup cups with lids. They reheat well. Right now at Home Depot they are selling boxes of three for $17.
posted by Oyéah at 8:32 PM on November 7


Not sure if it matters but rubber and silicone are both plastics*, so by the letter of the post those are out, and thus no mason jars with proper seals, no Kanteen cannisters, no anchor hocking, etc.

By the letter of the post I don’t think you can do it, unless you can get an all-metal tiffin that seals tight enough. Maybe you can get a stainless bottle with a natural cork topper, but it would be awkward for normal non-soup foods, and you’d have to change the cork regularly.

*rubber and silicone can both be made completely food safe, and this is why they are widely used for food containers.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:07 AM on November 8


I think silicones are degradable? Not biodegradable, but they decompose in the natural environment, catalysed by components of soil. I read something like that. So I don't mind silicones so much (although still not thrilled that they are partly made from fossil fuel).

Are there any 100% silicone storage containers (which are also food-safe)? I guess re: safety I might be a little concerned about things made in China, for example.

Is there such a thing as an entirely stainless steel food flask?
posted by tangerine_poppies at 5:33 AM on November 8


I highly recommend the stainless-steel containers on this site. I can attest to the fact that they are 100% leak-proof. There is a small silicone seal integrated into the lids.
posted by newsomz at 5:50 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Bio-plastic lunchboxes can be bought here:

https://www.greenpicks.de/en/0404g-947-lunch-box-made-from-bioplastics.html
posted by jacobean at 5:53 AM on November 8


Apart from the weight, wouldn't you worry about taking a glass container somewhere in a rucksack, in case it got broken?
posted by tangerine_poppies at 6:10 AM on November 8


Not all glass is the same. Some glass products are made to be pretty sturdy. If I’m concerned I’ll cushion the container by placing it in a thick fabric bag before placing it in a tote.
posted by bunderful at 6:51 AM on November 8


Apart from the weight, wouldn't you worry about taking a glass container somewhere in a rucksack, in case it got broken?

I've been carrying my Pyrexes for years in a messenger bag, and not once has anything broken. They are sturdy. I've dropped them right on a tile floor a bunch of times, and they don't break, just roll around.
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I've been carrying my Pyrexes for years in a messenger bag, and not once has anything broken. They are sturdy. I've dropped them right on a tile floor a bunch of times, and they don't break, just roll around.

I've also been carrying the Pyrex for years without any problems with them breaking. However, I did have one of the Corning soup mugs, and it broke.
posted by FencingGal at 7:56 AM on November 8


The ones I linked in my comment are quite sturdy. I've had them for at least three years now and no breaks or chips.
posted by praemunire at 8:27 AM on November 8


I haven't carried soup in them, but I have a few silicone containers and I've carried drippy sauce things in them without problems. They do exist, and are often collapsible or for camping. Though now that I think about it, the one I know got tipped and didn't leak had a plastic lid. But I don't see any reason why it couldn't have had a silicone lid and work just the same.

I have one similar to this (with the plastic lid) and one of these (untested with drips as of yet but all silicone).

I've also had good luck with the Pyrex with the silicone/rubberized lids - they're pretty dang hard to break.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 9:04 AM on November 8


I just learned today that bamboo lunch boxes are a thing... I can’t research much from work / mobile but it might meet your specs.
posted by bunderful at 11:52 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Do the collapsible ones... collapse when you don't want them to collapse?
posted by tangerine_poppies at 1:56 PM on November 8


This stainless steel container is said to be spill-proof.

The Trash is For Tossers blogger was on Ask Me Another recently and I was listening to that episode today.
posted by bunderful at 3:36 PM on November 8


My collapsible one, at least, is rather stiff and I don't think I've ever had it collapse inappropriately. Just be cautious when putting the lid on - press the lid and rim together rather than just pushing down on the whole thing to snap it in place. Aside from learning that lesson, it's stayed popped open when it should.
posted by dust.wind.dude at 7:10 AM on November 9


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