The Dangers of Plastic Food Containers and 11 ways to avoid them



We are surrounded by plastic and it has been found in mothersmilk and placenta of unborn babies and in our stool. Reason enough to avoid plastic where we can. There are some easy steos you can take to minimize the amount of chemicals you expose youself to.

You could simply swap plasic food containers with glass food storage containers.

Since I have been living in Canada, I changed my life around a bit. My morning routine has become one where I voluntarily get up at  5 am and meditate. I then journal and drink a lot of water. Now I don’t mean to brag, I am just an average human, and anyone can do this ( if you really want to).

I am telling you this because I have started to treat my body more like my temple. It is not just a vehicle that one day is going to break down. I know this will be the case, but life is much more enjoyable when your body feels strong and healthy. 

Healthy lunch boxes at ECOlunchbox

This is also what led me to phase out most of my plastic containers in the house. Now, I am saying most since I still use my Nutribullet daily, and for those of you who know and love the Nutribullet (mixer), it has a plastic container to hold the content for blending. 

Apart from that, when it comes to storing my food or serving it, I don’t use plastic containers anymore. The main reason is that I do not want to add more toxins to my environment and my food. 

If the expiry date is way past my life expectancy, I try to avoid it, usually canned food and premade meals.

Momentarily, I avoid canned food mainly because of the thin layer of plastic the cans have inside of them. Yep, I was also surprised when I learned this.

Why you shouldn’t use plastic food containers.

Plastic has been found in every human and is linked to cancer and hormone disruption. Heating up food or storing food in plastic containers leaches chemicals into the food exposing you to more health risks.

According to Scientific American, they can lead to breast cancer growth and low sperm count.

We are currently trying to make a baby and, I really don’t want to risk having a sick baby just because I couldn’t be bothered to store my leftovers in glass containers or a stainless steel containers. Would you?

Sorry, plastic tupperware from the ’50s.  

Many of us think Plastic lasts forever, but that isn’t entirely true. Especially when heating and cooling plastic containers, these endocrine-disrupting harmful chemicals break down. And when they break down, they end up in our food. As a result, they can cause detrimental and developmental health issues.

Related: What is Microplastic, and how to avoid it?

And you thought too much Salt was bad for you? Microplastic in Sea Salt.

But what about “BPA-free” plastics, aren’t these safe?

I hear this a lot. I used to buy into the idea that BPA-free plastics were safer too. But guys, we’ve been tricked!

Ages ago, I used to buy BPA-free plastics thinking this was a better alternative, while all I was doing was swapping one chemical for another. So for all the zero wasters or want to be zero waste out there here is the scoop on why you should skip the plastic. 

dangers of plastic food containers

What is Bisphenol A (BPA)?

BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used since the ’60s to make certain plastics and resins.  BPA has been found in Polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin.

Polycarbonate plastics are often used in plastic food storage and beverages, such as water bottles, Tupperware and even baby bottles. Crazy right?

Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply lines. Other common usages for epoxy resin are in the building industry as adhesives or for coating on almost any surface. Remember those shiny wooden tables, that look like they have a thin layer of glass on top of them? That is also epoxy resin.

Some research has found that BPA can seep into the food or beverages made with BPA. And BPA is toxic to the body. 

In September 2008 the National Toxicology Program of NIH determined that BPA may pose risks to human development, raising concerns about early puberty, prostate effects, breast cancer, and behavioral impacts from early-life exposures. Pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA, although a recent study linked BPA exposures to risk of heart disease, diabetes, and liver toxicity. (Source)

BPA is so bad that many countries ( China, The European Union, parts of America, and Canada) have banned the use of baby bottles completely. 

But an ongoing problem is the chemicals that remain in the plastics. Banning one chemical and replacing it with another one is not the solution.

the dangers of plastic food containers

The Problem with BPA Free

Now you may be thinking I’ll just buy BPA-free, but BPA-free does NOT mean toxin-free. Think about it.

According to new reports, bisphenol A (BPA) has just been replaced with other equally dangerous chemicals, most notably bisphenol S. 

Breaking new research indicates that manufacturers throughout the world who were using the toxic hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA), may have simply switched to an equally toxic analog in the same bisphenol chemical class known as bisphenol S (BPS), to evade regulatory oversight.

Despite the industry-wide move away from BPA towards BPS, they both exhibit similar estrogen-like properties. 

According to a report in Scientific American:

95% of Canadians between the age of 3 and 79 have tested positive for the chemical BPA in their urine. 

“Nearly 81 % of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. 

When it enters our bodies, it can affect cells similar to BPA. 

A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell’s normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer.” 

The more I learned about plastic, the more shocked I was that we are making baby products out of this stuff. We use it to store our food and precious water, which especially in the hot summer months, becomes a ticking time bomb. If left in a warm room or car or in direct sunlight, your water becomes a toxic juice.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to knowingly store, wrap, or serve my food in known endocrine disruptors that have been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer, infertility and more.

Here are a few ways to avoid BPA and BPS (and all their evil pals) in your everyday life.

Tips to avoid plastic, BPA, & BPS

  • Avoid plastic water bottles and opt for glass or stainless steel reusable bottles like the Kleen Canteen or the Yeti.
  • Store your food in reusable glass or stainless steel container.
  • Use glass bakeware for all your baking needs.
  • Avoid plastic-lined paper cups and carry a KeepCup or a reusable coffee cup of your choice
  • Make your coffee in a glass french press or my personal favorite the percolator
  • Avoid aluminum soda cans (a good reason to kick the bad habit in the butt).
  • avoid buying plastic-packaged food. Homemade tastes so much better anyway.
  • Avoid using canned food
  • Although BPA is still found in receipt paper, can linings, and many plastic products. I would recommend avoiding it completely. Thankfully we can just take a quick snapshot of our receipts, with Expensify, for example.

Yes, your coca-cola can is also lined with a thin layer of plastic. Don’t believe me? Check this little video out on how you can prove it to yourself at home.

Final thoughts

The dangers of plastic food containers are real. Safe plastic doesn’t exist.

I know that it’s impossible to avoid ALL plastic packaging, I get it, EVERYTHING comes in plastic.

I’m not saying you should obsess over every piece of plastic (please don’t), but I am saying be smart about eliminating it in places where it’s easy to replace…like food containers, dishes, and baby bottles.

Remember that life isn’t about perfection, it’s about making smarter decisions and doing what you can.

Blue Water Bento - Ocean-friendly bento lunch boxes by ECOlunchbox

There have been times when I have come out of the ocean after a kitesurf session on a hot summer day, and I needed to hydrate. The only best thing was to buy a water bottle from the milkbar. I’m not going to dehydrate because I’m avoiding BPA. I’m going to buy water in a plastic bottle because that’s a better option than going to the hospital for heat exhaustion.

How about you? Have you implemented these tips in your life? Are there some safe products that you love and I missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Until next time!

Photo of author

Hendrik Kaiser

Is the guy behind Zerowasteman. He is a YouTuber and ocean lover just trying to leave this place less messy than before he got here. Follow him and subscribe for more fun enviro goodies.


4 thoughts on “The Dangers of Plastic Food Containers and 11 ways to avoid them”

  1. The dangers associated with the use of plastic to the environment is generally bad and the dangers associated to our health by the use of plastic food containers are just way too alarming and hazardous than to be ignored. Seriously, I think plastics should be banned for real. However, pending the time proper sanctions would be melted on it, the tips you have shared up here concerning ways to avoid them is great and I’m definitely going to practice them. Thanks

  2. Wow, I had no idea that I was consuming plastic when drinking from a coke can or tinned food.  I have heard that so much estrogen from plastics and cosmetics have entered the eco-system, that we are all getting micro-doses of estrogen in our water supply.  Have you heard this?

    Perhaps there is a conspiracy to reduce male potency to reduce the population?

    • Yes and especially when you are living near or in a big city and your water doesn’t come from a well. The water treatment plants aren’t set up to filter out hormones or in our case microplastics. I don’t think there is a conspiracy, I think there are just too many people using toilets as a magic box that makes everything disappear. 


Leave a Comment