Tupperware was the first plastic storage container

Packaging waste Microplastics and plasticizers: the danger in the lunch box

This is due to dangerous microplastics and plasticizers that are used to make the can pliable. And the basic material of Tupperware and other plastic food storage boxes is anything but harmless. It's petroleum. But even in use, the cans may be anything but harmless. Because, according to the ├ľkotest, something comes out of all plastic cans. Some only release formaldehyde in the microwave, others also lose microplastics in daily use.

The more often a can is used, the more pollutants it releases

"Particles come loose, especially in older and somewhat porous products," says Milena Glimbovski. The blogger and founder of the first unpackaged store in Germany has dealt a lot with the subject of packaging. In principle, she advocates the multiple use of containers - this is what the concept of her store is ultimately aiming at. But she sees the use of the plastic boxes quite critically. "Heating up in the microwave or filling the cans with fatty foods dissolves plasticizers and microplastics," she says. There is still no scientific knowledge about the consequences of what exactly these microplastics trigger in the human body. There is simply a lack of long-term studies for this. However, the researchers suspect that microplastics could have hormonal effects.

"You can't compare Tupperware here with other plastic containers," says Glimbovski, and other studies have shown clear differences between manufacturers. Cheaper plastic cans from discount stores are usually of poorer quality. An important feature for checking the quality of each product is therefore to look at the bottom: "It is important that the product is BPA-free." BPA is a chemical compound that plays an important role in the manufacture of plastics. Among other things, it is used to make polycarbonate (PC) - one of the most commonly used plastics.

Plastic cans should be BPA-free

"Of course, no BPA-free product is not that good, but I'm not a fan of throwing it away. You should still use the product and only replace it when it becomes porous," says the Berliner. However, that is only a matter of time, because the lifelong shelf life of Tupperware and other plastic jars is a myth, as tests of the NDR broadcast market show. Because very few cans from the manufacturer last 30 years without cracks or damage. Then the Tupperware guarantee applies, but that is not in the sense of a waste-free life, as Glimbovski advocates.

It is more for products with a better ecological balance: For example, glass containers or stainless steel boxes: "With both, there is no need to worry about plasticizers or microplastics." Nevertheless, the advocate of zero-waste does not want to hide that either, most of the stainless steel boxes are made in India. In the end, the ecological balance is always important. Questions such as "How much arable land was used for production", "How much water was used?", "How long was the supply chain?", "How much waste did you generate?" and of course: "How durable is the product?".

Stainless steel and glass are the healthiest alternatives

Of course, Tupperware does not come off badly either, but the microplastic and plasticizer factors are also disregarded. In addition, there is the poor recycling rate of the product after use. But Tupperware is working on it, trying to further optimize the cult product that has become a pseudonym for plastic containers and increasingly improve the ecological balance. More and more products are being offered without BPA.

The supposedly good and absolutely BPA-free alternative to conventional plastic, namely bioplastics, also does poorly, says Glimbovski: "It consists of corn or potato starch - foods that, in my opinion, should rather be eaten. Arable land for the production of packaging material to use it goes against my view of a good ecological balance. "

For the zero-waste advocate, containers made of stainless steel or glass are high up. She also thinks it makes sense to recycle screw-top jars in which groceries such as cucumbers, peas or jam were bought. "Of course, the change is a matter of habit, you should take your time and do it without pressure," said Glimbovski. The success of the unpackaged shops shows that the general rethinking is taking place in society. There, too, the Berliner sees a variety of containers of all kinds. Tupperware is also included, but it is becoming less and less: "People want to get away from plastic - even from the cans."