How to store food without using plastic clingfilm

This week’s Change the World Wednesday challenge is a task close to my heart.

One of my long-standing bug bears is the use of clingfilm.

This disposable, plastic item tends to wrap itself around itself more than your food and it’s pretty much a once-use item, no matter how careful you are.

I haven’t bought any cling film for about five years now and I don’t miss it in the least.

Sure, it’s convenient (when it tears off the roll and doesn’t insist on wrapping up your fingers instead) but there are plenty of other convenient and more eco friendly alternatives…

These are some of the methods of food storage we use at Chez Green:

 Paper bags

For sandwiches I use brown paper bags. These are reused until they fall apart or get greasy and then are composted. If I don’t have brown paper bags to hand I use recycled foil – again, reusing it before recycling and I’ll also use any bags that happen to come into the house such as bread bags and old vegetable bags etc before recycling them.

Sandwich boxes

I’d had my eye on a laptop lunchbox for many years but felt the cost was a bit excessive. Then I saw a £5 version in a nearby shop so snapped it up. Yes, it’s plastic, but it’s reusable so reduces waste. It has different compartments so technically nothing needs wrapping at all. I’ve found it to be a bit small, limiting and annoying to clean out but we use it sometimes as Little Miss Green still likes the novelty factor of it.


I’ve been using plastic food storage containers for years and have been on the look out (unsuccessfully) for stainless steel replacements. Last week I came across glass containers in my local supermarket. They have hard plastic lids but to be honest I’m happy with that as it makes them simple to stack in the fridge. I’m absolutely delighted with them and feel much happier than storing things in yet more plastic. I use these to store the leftover contents of a tin such as tinned tomatoes, salmon or chick peas.

Saucepans and casseroles

I have to admit, if I’ve made too much food I usually just store it in the fridge in the saucepan or casserole I’ve made it in! My saucepans are stainless steel with glass lids, which makes for perfect storage. By using the same pan I’ll be reheating the food in, it saves on washing up too – what’s the point of moving food from the pan to a container, washing up the pan, putting the food back into the clean pan the following day to heat and then having to wash the container too?! 😉

What about you? How do you avoid clingfilm in your home?


  1. Jane on July 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    These days, I always use plastic food boxes of various shapes and sizes to store food, or to transport lunches, thus doing away with the need for cling film, or any other form of disposable wrapping. With hard boxes, there is the added bonus over bags or clingfilm that you do not risk squashing your sandwiches! As you say, plastic boxes are reusable, and they can last for many years. I also feel sure that they should be recyclable when they break/wear out, although I do not know where. If I put a dish into the fridge that does not have a lid, I either cover it with a plate or with the lid from a plastic food box. The other thing I used clingfilm for in the past was to cover dishes in the microwave. Nowadays, I lay the lid of a plastic food box loosely over the top of the dish instead. Like you, I keep any bags that come into the house for reuse, but do not generally use them for food. In the past, when I carried a plastic water bottle, I used to put this into a plastic bag inside my bag to prevent any risk of leakage if the bottle was damaged. However, now I have a steel bottle, this is unnecessary.

  2. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking on July 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Oh wow you have some great tips! I try to avoid plastic wrap also. I use reusable glass containers.I asked for them for Christmas and my birthday so I now have a wonderful assortment and lots of different sizes to choose from.

  3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama on July 22, 2012 at 5:50 am

    We decided on reusable glass with plastic lids as well and use that for most food. Sometimes we also store food without any wrapping, though that’s more temporary. It’s been informative what dries out that way and what doesn’t.

    I bought some reusable stretchy plastic-wrap lids for bowls and plates (and you can make your own out of, say, shower curtain liners with an elastic band sewn around the edge), but I keep losing the darn things. Plus, I find I don’t have big enough sizes for most plates or large bowls, but they work well for smaller things.

  4. Stephanie on July 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’ve never used clingfilm! Leftovers in the fridge are put in bowls with a saucer laid over them – not absolutely airtight, but works fine, no drying out.