This Is Plastics: Plastics in the Home IV: Plastics Make Home Cooking More Sustainable


Plastics in the Home IV: Plastics Make Home Cooking More Sustainable

Plastics provide sustainable and high-performance kitchen tools and accessories to reduce food waste and make cooking at home easier.


Plastics provide efficient, affordable and sustainable options for home chefs. Airtight food storage containers, lightweight packaging and recycled Tupperware options make cooking, packaging and storing food a more enjoyable process for home chefs.

Plastic food storage increases shelf life and helps consumers save money

Cutting down on food waste with affordable solutions is increasingly top of mind for consumers as prices rise due to inflation. This means consumers are not only cooking more at home, but relying on leftovers to save money. In fact, with affordability front of mind, 80 percent of Americans say their families make a point of eating leftovers to save money.

Plastic packaging and food containers offer consumers an affordable storage option that reduces food waste. Specifically, plastics preserve food for longer by increasing shelf life and preventing pathogens from causing spoilage. Even items like fresh meat benefit from plastic packaging, which can increase shelf life to 21 days. Americans throw out 20 percent of groceries due to spoilage every year, leading to increased trips and money spent at the grocery store each week. Airtight containers and plastic bags can conveniently store food for an entire week, allowing savvy shoppers to plan their ingredients around sales or bulk pricing.

Plastic containers are also more environmentally beneficial. For example, food waste increases the consumption of energy and water, and has a domino-like effect on deforestation, and biodiversity loss. However, plastics are a clear solution. In the home, consumers can use plastic storage for leftovers, meal prep and packed lunches to not only save money but also save resources and emissions. Thanks to its lighter weight in comparison to glass and paper, plastic containers require less energy to transport and less water and energy to produce—whereas reusable materials rarely offset the environmental cost of their production.

Innovations by the plastics industry are also delivering sustainable options for customers. In April 2021, Eastman partnered with Tupperware Brand Co. to expand the company’s portfolio of sustainable storage through Tupperware’s ECO+ product line made from recycled plastic. Using this material has eliminated more than 100 tons of CO2 emissions, while ensuring that food stays fresher and safer for longer periods of time—essential for busy families planning meals on a budget.

While consumers have many reusable plastic options for food storage, they can also be confident that some single-use solutions can be as or more environmentally friendly. Plastic sandwich bags, according to a new study on the sustainability of reusables versus single use items, have less overall environmental impacts than reusable options like beeswax sandwich wraps.

Plastics are the perfect material for high-performance kitchenware

The benefits of plastics in the kitchen extend beyond longevity and affordability—there’s also the material’s versatility. For example, silicone is a key fixture in many kitchens because of its many forms and functions. Silicone can withstand high temperatures without melting and is so durable that silicone trays can be placed directly in the refrigerator from the oven without cracking or splintering from shock, as would be the case with other metal or glass-based products. Silicone is also safe to use in the microwave because it is chemically inert—i.e., it is unreactive and does not absorb radiation from microwaves that could then leach into food. This same nonreactivity to chemicals makes it a great non-stick surface and perfect for baking molds.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the plastic polymer behind most nonstick cookware. Unlike its ceramic and metal cookware counterparts, nonstick cookware can tolerate higher heats, consistently deliver a true nonstick experience and effectively distribute heat across a surface for more even and efficient cooking.

PTFE is also a multipurpose polymer, frequently used as a cooktop coating because of its smooth surface finish, high thermal stability and flame resistance. PTFE has stable and durable characteristics, able to withstand the daily wear and tear of a cooking surface. Importantly, PTFE is FDA approved and food safe, making it an excellent choice for applications in both packaging and food manufacturing. Lastly, PTFE is budget friendly for families focused on cost-saving reductions. According to experts, PTFE is one of the more affordable polymers on the market and has the best performance to price ratios, meaning it can confidently deliver performance time and time again for customers.

Whether through high performance cookware or packaging to preserve the longevity of fruits and vegetables, plastics are a mainstay in the average family home—delivering affordability, versatility and sustainability all in one.

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