I could easily go through a ton of freezer bags and plastic storage containers if I allowed myself to. Hey, that strange concoction found deep in the bowels of the backwoods of the refrigerator could easily be tossed into the trash. Not so in my case anymore. No waste is our motto around here! Don't get me wrong, yes, the strange concoction should be thrown away- it's the plastic container that shouldn't! If I did find something unrecognizable in the refrigerator, I would first be mad at myself for allowing the food in question to go bad in the first place. Then, I would grouch at the person, in this case my hollow legged son, for moving things around in the refrigerator that allowed the mystery food to be displaced in the first place.
Back to the point at hand. I have saved a lot of money over the past year and a half by recycling plastic containers that other foods came in. I've also started collecting glass jars too. My little plastic tub collection began from necessity one year. I will spare you the rather unpleasant details but it involved my kids, two nieces, and a stomach virus. Plastic yogurt containers make really good (how can I say this tactfully?) "sick" buckets when 6 people are fighting for the use of two bathrooms. Enough said, you get the picture. Since that horrible day (that I will never forget as long as I live), I have dutifully saved every large yogurt container that passes from my refrigerator to the kitchen sink.
I use palm oil instead of shortening (if you want to know why, you can read about it here). I go through a lot of palm oil in a few months time so the little palm oil containers tend to add up. They are sturdy and have tight fitting lids and are perfect for holding leftovers! Many times have I sent my neighbor's little one home with her snack that she didn't finish when I babysat her. (These tubs also make great crayon holders as well).
I like glass jars..... I'll admit it. But,they strike fear in me for the fact that they can break and shatter and I have some scary history with glass from my childhood memories. Don't even ask but it involved a two year old, a cement porch, some glass Pepsi bottles, and a whole lot of stitches. Anyway, glass jars are perfect for holding dried beans and rice! Whenever I buy, for example, spaghetti sauce (Newman's is awesome by the way), I wash the jar and put it in the cabinet. That same jar will eventually house rice, beans, or a food based Christmas present!
Since I have started saving these handy containers, I have greatly reduced the need for buying freezer bags. I have successfully frozen leftovers in these little guys too. I know they might not be great for long term usage but for now, they work for me. I've went from buying freezer bags by the case to buying one small box maybe twice a month...if that. I also like the fact that my dried beans and rice can be kept fresh, clean, and dry when I store them in glass jars. It helps me greatly when I look into the cabinet and can spy what dried food goods I have with just a quick glance.
So, by making do with what I have, I have cut down on my grocery bill and recycled for the environment.
Go forth and reuse your containers. If they were good enough to hold the stuff that you brought home from the grocery store, they are certainly good enough to keep on holding whatever you need them too!
HINT: (If you have frequent refrigerator "raiders", keeping things in miscellaneous plastic containers keep those "raiders" from cleaning your refrigerator out! They are less likely to go opening a plastic tub that says one thing on the outside and inside are those cookies that you hid for yourself- think about it, it's a win-win situation!)