Eco-Friendly Meal Container Ideas
We recently received an email asking if we could share some eco-friendly ways to take a meal. We wrote on this topic a few years ago, but I thought I would update that post and share some simple low-cost ideas for taking meals in a way that creates less waste.
Like Adina mentioned in her post, I agree the containers themselves are secondary in importance when taking a meal. Remember, you are taking a meal to offer encouragement and help to someone who may be in need. Using eco-friendly containers isn't necessary when taking a meal, but can certainly be a good option if you have the time to prepare.
Reusing plastic containers that you already have - In thinking about less waste, keeping plastic out of trash cans comes to my mind first. When we buy certain items at the grocery store, it can't always be helped that those items come in plastic containers. Items that come to mind are deli meat containers, hummus containers and vegetable platter trays. I know the idea of plastic may not sound eco-friendly, but instead of throwing those items away, wash and save them to use in taking a meal to someone later. Be sure to reuse these plastic containers for cold items, but not hot items. My mom saved deli meat containers and reused them to pack our school lunches growing up. I still think that is a great idea!
Visit your local thrift store - This idea has also been shared before, but is still a great way to purchase meal containers. There are countless kitchen items that can be found in thrift stores and often for very little cost. A few years ago I made a pot of soup for a family who had recently had a baby. I found a used stock pot at my local thrift store and paid $2.00 for it. I told them I didn't need the pot back. It kept their soup warm and they could reheat it on the stove when needed. This can be done anytime you are at yard sales or thrifting for fun. Tell your friend or loved one to keep the containers, recycle them or reuse them for when they take a meal to someone else in need.
Paper plates with beeswax wraps - There have been times that I have not been able to attend a meal hosted by my in-laws due to sickness. Because I couldn't attend, my mother-in-law has sent a plate of food home with my husband for me to eat later. Paper plates can be a great way to take a meal to one or two people. Buy paper plates that can be composted to make even less waste. This set of plates also includes compostable cutlery. If the items are compostable, the packaging will say "biodegradable." Paper plates that have a poly coating should not be composted. If you know your friend or loved one enjoys composting, this is a great eco-friendly idea. Cover the plate with reusable beeswax wrap as opposed to aluminum foil or seran wrap. These beeswax wraps are cheerful and come in a pack of 9 and can be considered part of the gift of your meal!
Muslin and cheesecloth- Cheesecloth or muslin can be a great way to wrap non-spillable food items such as breads or even simple sandwiches. Instead of using a plastic sandwich bag, consider wrapping your bread in cheesecloth! I have found packs of flour sack kitchen towels that I have used to wrap a loaf of bread. Here is a 10-piece set you can order online and have it delivered!
I hope you find these ideas helpful! Visit the link I posted above to see more of what Adina has shared before as well. As always we'd love to hear from you! If there is an eco-friendly idea we have missed, please share it with us!
Post a photo of the meal you are taking on Facebook or Instagram and tag us at #takethemameal! You might just receive a fun gift from us!
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