Are Reusable Freezer Bags An Eco-Friendly Answer?

Everyone’s heard about the damage single-use plastic products are causing. But just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown. Single-use plastic doesn’t biodegrade, and even when it does start to break down, it can still be extremely harmful.

Microplastics come from partially degraded plastic products, and it can be extremely harmful to both humans and animals. You see, microplastic can leach into the soil, which then pollutes any food that grows in the area. Worst of all, after heavy rain, the microplastic is picked up and washed into natural water sources.

And this is where the problem starts for animals; they mistake the plastic for food, which kills them slowly after digestion. The old phrase “You are what you eat” always comes to mind.

You see, because microplastics infect the food we eat, you are too. This is causing a lot more harm to the human body then ‘they’ would have you believe; here are a few of the side effects caused by plastic:

  • Genotoxicity
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Auto-immune conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • The list goes on

Luckily, people are starting to realize the harm single-use products are having on the planet. Even shops have started charging for plastic bags or stopped providing them full stop.

With one single-use enemy down, it’s time to begin the search for others. And is there any better place to begin than another plastic product, the freezer bag?

green-freezer-bags

Are Reusable Food Storage Bags Safe To Freeze?

Yes, reusable freezer bags are perfectly safe to use in the freezer. The reason for this is freezer bags are made with either Silicone or PEVA. These materials can withstand extremely cold temperatures, with some going as low as -51°f. In other words, these materials cannot freeze. Both materials are also food safe, which is necessary if you want to decrease your chemical intake.

Silicone freezer bags tend to be the favorite for most consumers for a few reasons:

  1. More Durable – Silicone is far more durable than PEVA, which means the bags will last longer without splitting.
  2. Withstands Heat – Many PEVA products cannot withstand high temperatures, which means you can’t deforest stuff in the microwave.
  3. Higher Food-Grade – A great benefit of using silicone bags is they can have a higher food grade, which means fewer chemicals are used.

In the end, whichever material you choose, you can rest assured knowing it’s safe to be storing your food in.

Recommended Brands

There’s plenty of freezer bags on the market for you to have a dabble with. The problem is, some of them don’t perform as well as others.

This is why this segment is devoted to bringing you the very best reusable freezer bags. So, without any more delay, let’s take a glance at the best freezer bags the market has to offer:

WOHOME Silicone Bags

As mentioned earlier, the freezer bags are made with silicone and come in a pack of six airtight bags. The bags come in four different colors, which helps you identify what you need from a packed freezer.

Because the bags are made with silicone, the bags can withstand extreme heat as well as the freezer. This gives you a few more options when it comes to cooking with the bags.

To seal the bags, they use a zipper system which ensures the freshness is locked into the bag every time. Another nice touch is having measurement markings on the outside; it makes it a lot easier to position your food.

Inspriratek PEVA Bags

They come in a set of six bags, and as a bonus, they also include two stainless steel straws to help you further reduce the amount of plastic you use.

eco-friendly-freezer-bags

Because the bags are made with 100% PEVA, you don’t have to worry about any dangerous compounds such as BPA or Chloride. This makes it a healthy and more environmentally friendly option to PVC bags.

Each freezer bag uses a double-slide zipper which ensures they stay completely leak-proof and lightweight. With the zipper closed, you can store up to one litre of food without any escaping or the bag breaking.

Ecomore PEVA Bags

With these freezer bags, you get seven in the pack, with each one holding one gallon of food, which is more than enough. They can be used to store meats, vegetables, and much more in the freezer or fridge.

The tight seal of which is provided by the zippers ensures your food doesn’t get any freezer burns and stays fresh at all times. They claim that each bag can replace other 350+ disposable plastic bags.

The PEVA is completely food-grade, so you don’t need to worry about any substances leaching into your food. One thing to mention is, these freezer bags do not perform well under high heat so you should avoid using them in the microwave.

Rounding Up

Single-use plastic products are extremely bad for the environment, which is why reusable freezer bags can be so beneficial.

You have to remember, plastic products don’t break down in the same way as natural materials, which is causing a nightmare for the trash system.

And it’s not just because they don’t biodegrade; it’s also because of the quantity that gets used. This is why using reusable items like these freezer bags can be very beneficial.

It can significantly reduce the amount of plastic you use in your household. And this can only be a benefit. Remember, single-use plastic is killing animals at an alarming rate and poisoning human food. Using reusable freezer bags can help to further eliminate this problem.

Environmental Costs of Glitter

While there are no clear estimates of the amount of glitter sold each year, its distinctive ability to disperse makes it a disproportionate contributor to environmental problems. Glitter particles are easily transferred through the air or by touch, clinging to skin and clothes. Its ability to spread is so notorious that there are companies that will ‘ship your enemies glitter’ that is guaranteed to infest every corner of their home.

Glitter has even been used in forensic science to show that a suspect has been at a crime scene. This characteristic, and the plastics it contains, makes it something of an environmental peril. It causes problems for paper recyclers: glitter on cards and gift wrap can foul up the reprocessing equipment, and even contaminate the recycled pulp.

A Growing Problem

Most glitter is cut from multi-layered sheets, combining plastic, colouring, and a reflective material such as aluminium, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, or bismuth oxychloride. It therefore contributes to the more than 12.2 millions of tonnes of plastic that enters the ocean each year – not least when people wear it and then wash it off. Worse still, glitter is a microplastic, and there are growing concerns about these tiny pieces of material entering the marine food chain and harming marine life.

The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is often used in glitter is thought to leach out endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which, when eaten by marine creatures, can adversely affect development, reproduction, neurology and the immune system. PET can also attract and absorb persistent organic pollutants and pathogens, adding an extra layer of contamination.

When molluscs, sea snails, marine worms, and plankton eat pathogen or pollutant-carrying particles of glitter, they can concentrate the toxins; and this concentration effect can continue as they in turn are eaten by creatures further up the food chain, all the way to our dinner plates.

Time for Action

As consciousness of the environmental damage caused by glitter increases, some are taking drastic action. In November 2017 Tops Days Nurseries a group of English nurseries banned glitter for its contribution to the plastic pollution problem. But our attraction to sparkly things is literally age old, and won’t be given up easily.

Research has demonstrated that humans are attracted to shiny, sparkly things, which is thought to stem from our evolutionary instinct to seek out shimmering bodies of water. As early as 30,000 years ago, mica flakes were used to give cave paintings a glittering appearance, while the ancient Egyptians produced glittering cosmetics from the iridescent shells of beetles as well as finely ground green malachite crystal. Green glitter fans might well wonder if environmentally friendly glitter is available, and there is in fact a growing market of products that claim eco credentials.

Shining examples

British scientist Stephen Cotton helped develop ‘eco-glitter’ made from eucalyptus tree extract and aluminium. This appears to be sold by companies like EcoStarDust, whose short list of materials included only ‘non-GMO eucalyptus trees’. Their website explains if you leave your glitter in a warm, moist and oxygenated environment then it will begin to biodegrade, with the rate depending on the mixture of these factors. However, it is not clear that a product that may release aluminium into the environment deserves a green vote of confidence.

Wild Glitter another company also explains their sparkles are made from natural plant based materials but they don’t a lot of detail about how they’re made and what happens to them once used. Other brands, such as EcoGlitterFunBioGlitz and Festival Face, offer biodegradable glitter made from a certified compostable film.

Awareness about the environmental damage caused by glitter is steadily increasing

However, it is difficult for a consumer to be sure, without a good deal of research, that such products will break down quickly and harmlessly in the natural environment – or whether they require specific industrial composting processes.

Other manufacturers are turning instead to natural ingredients that add shine and sparkle; environmentally conscious cosmetic brand LUSH uses ground nut shells and aduki beans in its products. They also started using inert mica to create sparkly things, like the cave painters from millennia ago. Unfortunately, this meant trading an environmental problem for a human rights one: difficulties with the natural mica supply chain made it impossible to guarantee that the process was free from child labour, prompting a forthcoming switch to synthetic mica.

Parting Shot

There’s a lot of grey area when it comes to choosing greener glitter, and little objective evidence available regarding the environmental impacts of the different alternatives. I’ve seen little sign, for example, of a glitter product that claims to be compatible with paper and card recycling processes. But it’s crystal clear that, with enormous variety of options available, it should be possible do without glitter made from PET – even at Christmas.

 

Note: The article has been republished with the permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original version of the article can be found at this link