Do you reuse plastic containers?

As you know if you read the Bone Broth post, I made my own stock. Usually, I save empty sour cream and yogurt containers, and freeze the stock in there once it’s cooled.  I didn’t think too much about it, since I wasn’t heating foods in the plastic. But an article got me thinking – even if I am not heating the plastic, do the chemicals leech into my food while frozen in the freezer?

According to the EWG group, the single-use plastics (like the containers I carefully wash out and reuse!) can leech out chemicals into your food as they are used repeatedly, and start to break down. So – is it safe to reuse them once? How do we know when they start to break down? I have read a lot about freezing stock in jars, but when I tried, they cracked and it was a mess. I’m sure there is something I am not doing correctly, but I hate the thought of little glass shards all over the freezer, so glass is out. What is the alternative?

There is another chart that breaks down which plastics are ok to reuse, and which ones you should avoid using again. You can find the numbers on the bottom of the container – they usually have a number between 1 and 7.  Here is a brief summary:

1 – this is what most water and pop bottles are made of. Do not reuse.

2 – milk bottles, detergent bottles, toys, and plastic bags. One of the safest to reuse.

3 – food wrap, teething rings, dog toys. Do not reuse.

4 – shrink wrap, garment bags, ketchup bottles. Safe to reuse.

5 – diapers, carpet, dairy containers. One of the safest to reuse.

6 – plastic cutlery and foam; chemicals leech into food. Do not use this plastic even once if you can help it.

7 – layered and mixed plastic. Do not reuse.


So it looks like the yogurt and sour cream containers are ok for stock for now. Just to be on the safe side, I think I will reuse each only once or twice. We go through a lot of dairy at our house, so these containers are always around.  Happy recycling!




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