A single-use plastic Ziploc bag takes around 1000 years to biodegrade, and they can't be recycled. They aren't really reusable either, especially if you use them for freezing meat.
We admit—they're convenient. Whether you're using them to freeze meat or as lunch bags, it's not easy to find good and convenient alternatives.
But thankfully, as the world has started to care more about our planet over the years, some brilliant people have come up with great, eco-friendly alternatives.
The Problem With Ziploc Bags
Ziploc bags were first introduced in 1968 and quickly became ubiqitous in kitchens all over North America, Europe, and frankly, the world.
Our addiction to single-use plastics is having a horrible impact on our environment. It's not our fault as consumers—single-use plastics are cheap, convenient for manufacturers, and convenient for us.
But all of this single-use plastic is taking its toll.
These plastics end up in a landfill or the ocean, where animals can choke on them, eat them and become fatally ill, or become stuck in them.
The Mariana Trench, which extends nearly 36,000 ft (10,975 meters) down a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. You may have heard the 2019 news that a plastic grocery bag was found in here. It's clear that we need to do something about it.
If you're like most people, you might have used and thrown away hundreds of Ziploc bags over the years. But for the dedicated conscious consumer, there are alternatives that work just as well as disposable Ziploc bags.
Things To Consider When Shopping For Ziploc Alternatives
While there are several alternatives to Ziplocs, they're not all perfect.
- They have to be easy to wash - If they're not, you're never going to use them. It's the most important criteria.
- There's no "one size fits all" solution - If you're dedicated to getting rid of disposable kitchen bags permanently, you'll need to get a few different products for different purposes.
Can You Take Silicone Food Bags on a Plane?
Yes, as long as they're transparent or have a window so you can see inside, you should be fine with a silicone food bag on a plane. Make sure the bag is under 1 quart to meet TSA guidelines.
Best Reusable Silicone Bags
Stasher makes pure 100% platinum silicone bags in a variety of funky colors. They're designed to be used forever and are manufactured in China.
They offer a variety of bags for different uses. They sell solutions for everything from tiny snack bags, to sandwich bags and freezer bags.
The bags are a bit pricey, but they're highly rated and are suitable for freezing, in the microwave or even in a pot of boiling water up to 400F. You can also clean them in the dishwasher.
While expensive, these are a great eco-friendly alternative to Ziploc bags and single-use plastic.
Best Budget-Friendly Silicone Bags
If you like the idea of silicone storage bags but Stasher is too expensive, Home Hero's silicone storage bags might be a better option.
They likely won't hold up as well as the Stasher bags, but they are significantly less expensive.
The bags are sous-vide safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe and freezer safe. The set of seven bags are all different colors so you can color-code your food, if you like.
A Ziplock Replacement For Lunches & Snacks
It's obvious that Rezip was going for that Ziploc replacement look and feel. The bags are made from FDA-grade PEVA material.
These bags are safe in the freezer, but don't try to microwave them, use them for sous vide cooking or use them in any other way that will expose them to high heat. They say the bags are dishwasher safe, but to be safe, we recommend hand washing.
Rezip says their bags replace up to 300 disposable bags, so we assume that means you can wash them about 300 times before they're worn out.
For a freezer solution, the 4-pack of 1-gallon storage bags is ideal. They come in around $7 per bag, which is reasonable.
They also offer tall bags, lay-flat bags, stand up-bags and sandwich bags for whatever your storage needs are.
A Paper Alternative
If you like the idea of natural paper bags for your sandwiches and snacks, If You Care's paper snack and sandwich bags might just be for you.
The bags are unbleached, grease-proof paper without paraffin wax. They're 100% compostable at home or at municipal composting facilities. They're also microwave safe, if that's your thing.
These aren't suitable for freezing food, but for sandwiches or snacks on the go, they work great.
Non-Bag Alternatives For Freezing Food
These options are more suitable for freezing anything besides meat, but they can be a great solution for freezing prepared foods.
Jars are an excellent way to store food in the freezer, especially because you probably have some saved from jarred food you've purchased.
Jars are more suitable for liquids than solids. Don't be afraid to try it! Where jars really shine is that you can stand them up in the door of the freezer.
How to Use Jars For Freezing Food
- Wash the jar well before using.
- Don't fill the jar more than 3/4 full.
- Make sure the food is completely cold before putting it in the jar.
- Put the lid on the jar, but don't tighten it until the food is fully frozen.
- Tighten the lid.
- Make sure the jar is positioned safely in the freezer. It would be awful if you opened the freezer one day and the jar fell out and smashed on the floor.
Some people recommend not using pasta jars or non-canning jars for freezing but we've used them many times and never had an issue.
2. Glass Meal Prep Containers
Glass meal prep containers are another great way to freeze food. It's important to use glass or Pyrex containers with a good seal.
Don't worry about the plastic lids becoming brittle in the freezer—with good quality containers, this shouldn't be an issue.
This set of 10 meal prep containers for $30 is a great pick.
Ikea's glass containers are also great for this.
How to Use Glass Meal Prep Containers For Freezing Food
- Make sure food is completely cool before freezing.
- For best results, let the food defrost in the fridge before reheating. Although you can put it directly in the microwave or oven in a pinch, it's best to avoid this.
- Try to eat the food within about a month of freezing. Expect some freezer burn, but nothing too terrible.
For shorter-term freezes, unbleached butcher paper or wax paper will work.
Ideally, wrapping the food in several layers of paper will help it keep in the freezer, but expect some freezer burn in the process.
How To Use Paper For Freezing Food
- Wrap the food in several layers of paper.
- Tape the wrap so it stays together.
- Eat the frozen food within a week or two for best results. Expect freezer burn.
Ditching The Plastic Ziploc Bags is a Great Idea
You won't regret getting rid of all of the plastic Ziplocs.
It's a great feeling to know that you've stopped contributing to the plastic waste that's put into our landfills. It's a great easy and significant effort to take in creating a more eco-friendly home.
Do you have any suggestions for other eco-friendly alternatives to Ziploc bags? Let us know in the comments below.