Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Non-Tubby Food Tubs

In Hawaii, where I’m from, you can’t stop guests bringing food, no matter what. Good local manners simply prevent your showing up empty-handed. The container of choice: classic, reusable Tupperware. It stands for something good and homemade, like Aunty Dot’s fruit Jello-mold or Mom’s chicken hekka.

Hence my brother Ethan’s distress when he heard on Honolulu talk radio about phthalates in some plastic containers that could migrate into your food and drink. Next, by popular demand: Greener Picnic Ware. “Apparently, men with higher levels of phthalates in their bodies have 3-inch bigger waistlines. The announcer called it blubberware,” said Ethan, who’s been fighting to keep his buff surf body since the arrival of child #3. “Do we have to throw out all our Tupperware?” The answer: No huhu (don’t worry). Tupperware’s a keeper, with just a couple of exceptions (see “Caution,” below). So use it—and reuse it—for picnics, commuting, back to school, parties and leftovers. Most Tupperware is made of plastics that have not been found to release Bisphenol-A (BPA, linked to hormone disruption, obesity and breast cancer in lab tests), or phthalates. These better plastic wares include: #2 HDPE, high-density polyethylene, also the most widely recyclable plastic: Tupperware FreezeSmart, Ice Cube Tray, Ice Tups Set and Jel-Ring Mold. #5 PP, polypropylene: Tupperware Modular Mates, Quick Shake Containers, One Touch Reminder Canister, and all Tupperware Bowls. The following are included, with other makers’ containers, in Greenerpenny’s BPA-free water bottle list, now on the home page at For kids: Thirstbreak Tumblers with straps, 14 oz, $13.50, or 32 oz On-the-Go version for $13, featuring Tinkerbell; an On-the-Go featuring Shrek, for $13.50. Lunch sets of sealed tumbler and sandwich box feature the Little Mermaid, Dora the Explorer and Diego, $16. For Babies: Pooh meal set with sealable sippy cup, bowl and snack cup, $17. For Commuters: 24-oz insulated (double-wall) Tumbler with Drip-less Straw Seal, $19.95, or Commuter Mug with swivel-open sipper cap, 16 oz., $18.50. Caution: Tupperware Rock ‘n Serve containers, meant to go directly from the fridge to the microwave, are made of #7 (the recycling code for “other” plastic, including polycarbonate), according to The Green Guide, As polycarbonate has been found in some tests to leach BPA when heated, this probably isn’t a good idea. The same goes for Tuppercare Baby Bottles, which are also polycarbonate, according to The Green Guide’s thorough research. And, while Tupperware Crystal Wave Microwave Containers are made of safer #5 plastic, Greenerpenny advises, as a precaution, heating foods in microwave-safe ceramic or glass, instead.

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