On the Road to Banning Single-use Plastics
There has to be a solution to plastics pollution, and we are inherently part of it as we use plastics and throw them away as if they were biodegradable. We used to laugh when our grandmothers rinsed out a plastic food bag and hung it on the clothesline to dry and then reuse. Not such a joke any more.
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Several alternatives to plastic food bags have cropped up in recent years, some, like waxed cloth, that seem to permit the food to perish too quickly, and eventually need to be replaced themselves, have proven not as effective in the longer term.
Now, reusable silicone food bags are making a major impact on our ability to store and preserve foods safely and with negligible environmental issues.
Environmental Impact of Ziploc Bags
The environmental impact of “Ziploc” and other plastic food bags is staggering, virtually immeasurable. Upward of 200,000 plastic bags per hour end up in landfill, taking as much as 1,000 years to breakdown completely.
Add to that their dangerous start; they are manufactured from fossil fuels, in and of itself a giant, global environmental negative.
Some plastic food bags end up in nature and our oceans, injuring and killing animal species, some of those endangered.
They’re bad. One of the worst and yet still in use because we can’t just let valuable food go to waste.
Benefits of Reusable Silicone Food Bags
Let’s face it: any form of reusable bag is going to be better than single-use plastic, even washing them (they still wear out in fairly short order), but because people are generally lazy (sad, but true), they want convenience, not complications; the less effort required the better (hey, we have important things to do!). Bottom line: counting on people to recycle plastic bags is a non-starter. And even if they do, given that only 7% of plastics placed in the blue bag for recycling are actually recycled, plastics are bad news. That ought to make you angry!
What about moulded food containers as an alternative? Most of those are made of plastic, too, and when they crack or become discoloured, into the trash (or theoretical recycling) they go. There are several food containers made with glass bottoms and plastic lids; anyone who has used them will tell you the lids wear out much faster than the glass, so not the best combination.
Silicone food bags are reusable and can be washed in the dishwasher; they’re that sturdy. They can go from freezer or refrigerator to oven or microwave facilely. Preventing food from perishing, they do not affect food, so flavours are not altered when they are exposed to the food-grade silicone, nor when it is chilled or heated. Reusable silicone food storage bags protect foods in your refrigerator or freezer from releasing odours (think fish) or off-gasses (think apples).
Is Silicone Safe for Food Use?
Silicone has many uses, and is made in “grades” that are appropriate for specific applications. For example, feminine hygiene products that are safe for use by women are comprised of medical-grade silicone. Food-grade silicone products are meticulously designed for use with food products and are safe.
Food-grade silicone food bags are just part of the wide collection of silicone kitchen products available. Bakeware, utensils, cookware and many other kitchen necessities are now available in silicone. They are flexible, reusable, and colourful; home cooks and professional chefs swear by them!
How to Use Silicone Food Bags
Brand new silicone food bags can be a bit tough to get open for first use, but they are air- and water-tight, so they need to be snug. Remove the slider strip, press open the bag (it may be stuck shut, so persevere), fill the bag, compress to remove extraneous air, and you’re done, tightly sealed. You can even store liquids like soups without leakage.
Food stays fresher longer. For instance, cut apples tend not to go brown if stored in silicone food bags. And you can take foods from storage to cooking without changing containers. Take your sandwich to work for lunch; fresh like to moment you made it.
Easy to wash and then reuse, silicone food bags can be washed by hand with warm soapy water or place in the dishwasher (upper or lower rack); just open them slightly, place upside down over the guides and wash. If there are any crumbs suck in the corners of the bag, poke them out with a bottle brush before washing the bag. Simple.
And a tip! Modern dishwashers (with the exception of a few expensive high-end units) do not pulverize food particles like the old ones did, so be sure to rinse the bag before you wash it thoroughly.
What Others Say
“Versatile and easy to clean; I just love them!” So says a celebrity chef. “There’s barely anything they can’t do.”
“Sure, they’re a bit of an investment to start with, but they more than make up for the cost over time, and no adding to waste dumps,” says a mother of five who enjoys home cooking.
“I put water in mine and used it an as icepack on a leg injury,” an avid jogger told us.
With reusable silicone food bags, the options and applications are virtually endless, and your good conscience will love them. Yes, we have a solution to plastic and Ziploc foods bags. Hooray!