5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Stainless-Steel Lunch Box Over a Plastic Lunchbox

by James Flint on October 05, 2020

As environmental awareness is gaining more importance than ever, more and more people are adopting environment-friendly practices in one way or the other. As a part of that, many are looking for sustainable substitutes for the material we most commonly use: plastic.

Stainless steel is an excellent substitute. The use of stainless steel in food storage containers has taken the world by storm. It’s convenient, sustainable, hygienic, long-lasting, and easy to clean.

Enter lunch boxes! These are items that most of us can’t do without. A lot of people use plastic lunch boxes, but there are many reasons why we shouldn’t. 

While there are a huge number of advocates for stainless-steel lunch boxes, there are still many people who do not understand why it is important to use stainless-steel lunch boxes over the plastic ones. If that sounds like you, keep reading!

stainless steel bento lunchbox plastic free zero waste

What’s the Difference Between Stainless Steel and Plastic?

Plastic is a synthetic material made from organic polymers. Most plastic products are made from petroleum-based chemicals. Plastic is used in almost everything you can think of: bags, containers, boxes, electronics, appliances. It’s so popular because it’s lightweight and offers durability. Also, they can be transparent, which many people find to be convenient. However, they are prone to cracking, buckling, leaching, discolouring and.... never ...ever... breaking down (well, at least not in our lifetimes or that if our children and grandchildren). And that's why they make such a mess of our oceans. 

On the other hand, stainless steel is a metal alloy. Alloys are made from at least two different metals combining. The metal becomes stainless when the iron combines with chromium. Iron is well known for its strength while chromium is known for its outstanding ability to withstand heat and corrosion. Stainless steel has some incredible properties, not least of which is its strength and durability. Stainless steel has different grades of metals, depending on the percentage of chromium used. 

5 Reasons to Use a Stainless Steel Lunch Box over a Plastic Lunchbox

As convenient and cheap as plastic lunch boxes are, they’re not the best choice when you consider its effects on your health and the environment. This is where stainless steel lunch boxes are so much better.

Let’s look into these factors in detail.

Here are 5 reasons why you should use a stainless-steel lunch box over a plastic lunchbox:

1.    It is non-toxic and clean

Plastic: There is a growing evidence base demonstrating the harmful and toxic threats that plastic presents. Some of the reports are very alarming. For example, plastic contains BPA - a harmful synthetic chemical known for disrupting the human body’s natural hormonal system. Research has shown a connection between BPA and various health problems like infertility, hormonal induced diseases, tumors and metabolic disorders. Plastic boxes that contain BPA leak those BPA elements into the food that is stored inside. Research has also shown that we tend to get at least 90% of BPA in our bodies through plastic food packaging and containers.

Plastic can also enter our body as microplastic particles (the diameter is less than 0.2 inches). Research on the health impact of plastic on the human body is inconclusive, with some research suggesting harmful health consequences. 

Plastic can also harbour bacteria when the surface contains cracks and crevices. These imperfections in the surface trap water creating a moist environment for the multiplication and proliferation of bacteria, some of which may be nasty pathogenic one which cause food-borne disease. You'd be surprised how often these nasty bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, are found on foods we purchase form the supermarket.And if they get into these cracks, with the right moisture levels and at the right temperature, they multiple exponentially to level that can cause acute illness.  

Stainless Steel: Firstly, stainless steel has no health hazard related to BPA. Stainless steel is the preferred material when it comes to food - just look inside the kitchens of 5 star restaurants and you'll see nothing but stainless steel. 

Stainless steel doesn’t store bacteria, nor does it leach any harmful chemicals. Food stored inside will never be tainted with any poisonous chemical from the stainless-steel lunch box. It is clean and hygienic for even the most health-conscious people. In fact, it’s because of the “stainless” property that it is so easy to clean stainless steel lunch boxes. 

stainless steel bento lunchbox plastic free zero waste

2.    It is durable

Plastic: Sure, plastic lunch boxes are lightweight and semi-durable. This is what makes them convenient. Yet, the cons may outweigh the pros when it comes to plastic vs stainless-steel lunch boxes.

With long-term use, plastic boxes can become tainted with color from the food inside. If you have been using one for a very long time, you must have noticed the decaying yellow color on the plastic, as faint as it may be. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you cannot store highly acidic food in plastic lunch boxes. This is because plastic boxes tend to become more prone to breaking down with time as they lose their strength. And frequent use of plastic boxes to store acidic food catalyzes this process.

Most importantly, plastic lunch boxes simply do not offer the same strength and durability as stainless steel lunch boxes do. With exposure to sunlight, exposure can become brittle and chip. 

Stainless Steel: Do you know how stainless steel is made? The metal steel has an outer chromium layer cover prevents rusting and contact with air particles. After the heat is removed from the manufacturing process and the metal alloy is left to cool, it hardens. This hardened stainless steel is so strong and durable that it is used as a base for appliances such as machinery, factory equipment, domestic appliances, cutlery, and cookware.

When you pack your food in a stainless steel lunchbox, you never have to worry about the safety of your food. Most importantly, stainless steel lunch boxes are so durable that they can withstand high temperatures with ease. This makes them very suitable for long-term use. 

3.    It is reusable

Plastic: Plastic is not easily reused or recycled. Even if it is for some types of plastic, it’s a complex and energy intense process.

As mentioned earlier, the greatest danger that plastic lunch boxes pose to us humans who use them to store and hold food is the release of dangerous chemicals that can enter our bodies.

In addition, since plastic is synthetic, plastic lunch boxes will not decompose at the end of their useful life when they are thrown away. On top of that, it can hamper soil fertility. This not only harms plant life but also animals who depend on these plants for health and survival. In fact, soil fertility can negatively affect entire ecosystems too – posing a threat to the overall environmental balance.

The same is applicable for plastic lunchboxes that have been abandoned in the oceans. Using plastic lunch boxes hence poses a huge risk to both the environment and us humans.

Stainless Steel: The strength of stainless steel lunch boxes and their durability are the reasons why they can be used for years and years. In fact, their non-toxic properties make them great for reuse. An added benefit to using stainless steel lunch boxes is that they’re non-porous. So, even if you use them for a long time, the stainless steel material keeps your lunch boxes safe from harmful air particles and doesn’t oxidize or rust either. You get to use your lunch box for as long as you want without any hassle.

stainless steel bento lunchbox plastic free zero waste

4.    It does not harm the oceans and aquatic life

Plastic: One of the most harmful consequences of using plastic is its disastrous effects on ocean life. This indirectly affects us as well.

As you already know, plastic isn’t biodegradable. In the oceans, micro-plastics are swallowed by aquatic life, some of dies after succumbing to the negative health effects of plastic. Some marine animals may even suffocate as they become tangled or trapped in plastic waste. 

Stainless Steel: Using stainless-steel lunchboxes does not involve any of the harmful aquatic consequences of using plastic. Thus, using them over plastic lunch boxes allows you to protect the ecosystems.

Stainless steel can be 100% recycled. This is a plus on top of its long lifespan. This means that you get to save loads of money since you don’t have to replace these boxes in the long run. After all, metal is much more durable than plastic and, thus, more appropriate for reuse. Furthermore, your stainless-steel lunch box will look as good as new even after using them for years.

5.    It does not hamper land

Plastic: Brace yourself for this shocking statistic: 91% of plastic isn’t recycled. On the contrary, huge volumes of plastic end up accumulating on land and in the oceans. In the case of land, the plastic accumulation creates landfills since plastic doesn’t decompose. Consequently, millions and millions of tons of plastic in landfills affect the environment negatively by releasing toxins, which hamper soil fertility, as mentioned before. 

Stainless steel: To begin with, stainless steel does not have any toxins. So, there is little to no fear at all when it comes to the environmental effects of disposing of stainless steel. In fact, there is no need to dispose of stainless steel lunch boxes at all. Since it consists of different metals, it can be broken down, and all the different metals can be extracted and used elsewhere. As an eco-friendly consumer, you can rest assured that you’re contributing to environmental welfare by using stainless-steel lunch boxes over their plastic counterparts.

stainless steel bento lunchbox plastic free zero waste

Final Words

The main takeaway here is that you should definitely use a stainless steel lunch box over a plastic lunchbox considering the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, this article has succeeded in clearing any confusion you may have had and has convinced you to stop using plastic lunch boxes. After all, at the end of the day, it is our duty to take measures to protect the Earth while also raising awareness about the importance of using environment-friendly products such as stainless steel lunch boxes.