Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Silicone Bowl Covers: Have I Made a Terrible Mistake?

Mindful Echo is struggling with an eternal conflict: leftovers vs laziness.

In my ongoing quest to reduce and eliminate disposable and plastic items from my life, I sometimes find myself in conflict with another of my life's goals: not washing dishes. So when it comes to food storage, I'm torn. Sure, throwing leftovers into a glass container might be the most environmentally-friendly move, but it also means having to transfer all the food and dirtying another container. If that container isn't oven safe, I then have to dirty even more dishes when reheating the leftovers the next day. See my dilemma?

Obviously, while aluminum foil and plastic wrap are the far more convenient choices for food storage, they are also major contributors to our overflowing landfills. When I do need foil for something, I actually try to save it and use it several times before throwing it away, thus easing my guilty conscience at least marginally.

A couple of months ago I was shopping at an eclectic local store when I stumbled across a set of silicone bowl covers. In three sizes, heat proof, and for less than $20, I snapped them up. I've been using them constantly since I made the purchase and I have found them highly effective for keeping my food fresh in the fridge for a couple of days. The silicone suctions to the rim of the bowl/jar and seals out air. They're also easy to wash off and save me the hassle of doing more dishes.

Mine are pretty much like these but they aren't some fancy chef brand. :)

What I'm wondering though, is if I've just contributed more to the problem. Silicone is not exactly environmentally friendly, although they're definitely getting more use than their disposable counterparts. Were they a mistake? Should I have just gone glass?

Fellow eco-bloggers, I need either a hug or a slap on the wrist here. Is this a food-saving FAIL or a wonderful WIN?


Eco Yogini said...

Honestly? If it means that you aren't using disposable stuff as much and you are stretching out your food to the max (so decreasing food waste) then IMO it's a total pass!
Silicone might not be perfect, but it's definitely better than disposable and contributing to your ability to conserve food. If they last a long time- even better! :)

Green Bean said...

Ha ha! I totally worry about this stuff too. Frankly, silicone confuses me. Its supposed to be better than plastic but is there toxins concerns? I have no idea!!! We can only do our best, though, and that sounds like what you've done. I'm with Eco-Yogini. It think you are good! :)

concretenprimroses said...

I saw some pretty ones in a store that look like lily pads. And wanted them but went through the same thought process as you. I am not sure if I would use them enough to justify. Love the idea of not transferring leftovers twice to.

Mindful Echo said...

Thanks for the feedback. I haven't yet tried them for long-term storage, and I'm not sure they're meant to seal stuff for longer than a day or two. For the short term though, I think I'll rest easy with this decision.

Anonymous said...

It seems there is no black and white (IT WAS BLUE!) when it comes to the environment. Sometimes the catch 22s take over

You really just have to go with your gut.

For instance, I send my kids to school with reusable plastic containers. They are reusable. Yay! They are plastic. Boo! They are not glass that gets shattered all over an elementary school floor. Yay! They do wear out though or a lids gets lost. Boo.

You sort of have to choose the lesser of two evils for your life, you know?

I think the silicone lids are excellent. They work and they certainly are not as wasteful as the plastic wraps that are out there. Aluminum foil, I love! And it works! But now I will think twice! (even though we do reuse)

It's hard to be a conscientious human!

Christy said...

I agree with everyone else, silicone gets a pass from me, as long as it isn't heated, from what I've read.

Have you tried making wax/cloth dish covers (see my tutorial here on the GPB). They don't seal, but if I use an elastic band it holds them on pretty securely.


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