The battle of glass versus plastic storage containers isn’t exactly age-old, but it is contentious. If your family is still doing battle over the best place to store and transport leftovers, stop the insanity – see who comes out on top when glass and plastic duke it out…
Glass vs. Plastic: The Storage Skirmish
- Glass storage containers
From simple Ball jars to Pyrex and Corningware, glass storage has been around for a very long time. The first small glass bottles, produced in the first millennium around 1500 BC, were originally used for perfumes and potions. As the years marched on, the scope of sizes and styles for glass containers grew, standardizing around the beginning of the 18th century, and going mainstream in America in the early 1900s following the invention of the automatic glass blowing machine – a boon for Ball’s mason jars. Pyrex made its official debut in 1915 during World War I, manufactured and sold by Corning Glass Works, who later in the 1950s introduced CorningWare, a unique glass-ceramic container offering thermal shock resistance.
- Glass pros
A prettier, by far classier storage solution, nothing beats the nostalgia drummed up by Granny’s glass bowls hitting the tables during the holiday season. As these bowls attest, glass storage containers are long-lived, retaining their crystalline attractiveness forever, standing up easily to stains, odors, and germs – and your highest heat dishwasher settings. More airtight than plastic, these BPA-free beauties can do triple duty, with tempered versions storing oven-ready foods in the freezer for later refrigerator thawing and oven cooking, to be transferred seamlessly to the dinner table. Put them back in the fridge with nary a mess post-repast, and easily ID leftovers (alongside all those extra dishes, pots and pans you didn’t have to wash).
- Glass cons
Glass storage containers cost a bit more initially, and breakage can sometimes be a concern. In other downsides, vintage glass can also become an addictive hobby. Avoiding Ebay at all costs is recommended for those developing this propensity.
- Plastic storage containers
Brands like Tupperware, Gladware, and Rubbermaid popped into existence after the early-1900s invention of cellophane wrap, making their way into homes in the 1940s as housewives looked for ways to bring home the bacon. Lighter and less expensive lines were subsequently introduced in later years – Rubbermaid storage containers in the 1980s, followed by inexpensive supermarket varieties such as Gladware in the late 1990s.
Cheap, clutz and kid-friendly, there will be no stressing if these containers are dropped or deserted. Toss ‘em on the top rack only for a dishwasher safe wash.
Not as airtight as glass storage containers, especially after the first week of use. Plastic is prone to staining and odors, especially with microwave use, which can cause them to breakdown substantially when foods are overheated. Though most are now produced without BPA, scientists continue to debate the health risks of these containers. Equally disturbing, the short shelf-life of these containers contributes millions of tons to landfills annually, with only 14% of storage containers recycled. Even more disturbing: Finding an efficient way to dry containers out for storage following cleaning.
Storage container wars leave you picking up the pieces? Let Glass Doctor put the sparkle back in your holiday season. Contact us today.