How to Store Leftovers without Plastic

store leftovers without plastic

Do you know how to store leftovers without plastic? It’s actually pretty easy: You just need the right tools for the job. My fridge is almost completely plastic-free now, thanks to some sustainable alternatives. Before I went zero waste, plastic wrap permeated almost every inch of my fridge. It was downright invasive. But plastic wrap is so bad for both the environment and your health. After all, plastic is a substance known to leach toxins into food. Worse yet, after using plastic wrap for a short duration, you throw it away and it lasts in the environment nearly forever. Plastic wrap is hard to recycle in most areas, and in some it’s not recyclable at all. I’m glad our family doesn’t buy it anymore: It was also a real money drainer. 

That’s where beeswax wraps have really come to the rescue for my family. Yes, we understand most leftovers can be stored in reusable, sealable containers. However, my folks and I really like something that seals right over a dish. Beeswax wraps really give us that satisfaction without costing our health, wallet or the planet. Enter Goldilocks Wraps: A small, woman run company that creates handmade beeswax wraps in Victoria, BC (Canada) using locally sourced beeswax. I don’t typically get too many products from Canada since I’m U.S. based, but Goldilocks Wraps are an exception. These wraps are long-lasting and reusable, unlike plastic wrap, which means I don’t have to re-order any for a while. The founder, Amy Hall, is so relatable and sweet. She volunteered with a shark conservation program in the South Pacific and was devastated by the ocean plastic pollution she witnessed first hand. This was her driving factor behind creating Goldilocks Wraps and zero waste living, and I admire her for that. She’s not in it simply to sell a product – she’s in it to better the earth as a whole.

Are you ready to have a zero waste kitchen and forget plastic once and for all? Here’s how to store leftovers without plastic. You’ll save a buck, your health and the earth all at once!

This post is kindly sponsored by Goldilocks Wraps. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.


Goldilocks Wraps Beeswax wraps

store leftovers without plastic

Goldilocks Wraps gifted me an assortment of beautiful beeswax wraps. I’m blown away by how stunning they all are. If I had to choose my favorite pattern, I’d go with the Cosmic Deer Skull (pictured above) set of three (one small, medium and large wrap). They’re out of this world (pun intended).

store leftovers without plastic

Goldilocks Wraps are easy to use and care for: You just wrap a bowl or plate with leftovers on it after your meal. Beeswax wraps warm with the heat of your hands and you’re able to mold it to the form of the bowl or dish you want to cover. Unlike plastic wrap, it’s not tacky and doesn’t stick to itself either (thank gosh – that always annoyed me about plastic wrap!).

store leftovers without plastic

I like to use the small Goldilocks Wraps to cover cut pieces of vegetables or lonely little berries (or tomatoes, in the case of the picture above). If I cut an avocado in half, or only use a third of a cucumber, Goldilocks Wraps seals it up and keeps it fresh (much longer than plastic ever did too). It’s also great for storing blocks of package-free cheese.

The medium Goldilocks Wraps are perfect for small to medium sized dishes and bowls. I use them to cover a variety of meals like pasta, soup, etc. They’re extremely versatile. The large wraps are perfect for bigger bowls for larger portions. They’re ideal for when you have to make a lot of food for an event or party.

To wash the beeswax wraps off, I just use some cool soapy water (I only use my zero waste dish soap on it – nothing filled with harmful, polluting chemicals). Then, I let it air dry by hanging it over the dish rack (nothing fancy). Also, I keep it away from heat (so no microwaving it). This will keep the wraps in tip top shape and last me much longer.

Goldilocks Wraps are made out of cotton, beeswax, tree rosins and jojoba oil. Obviously these products aren’t vegan, but there are vegan options for food storage I list (and use) below. 

You can reuse Goldilocks Wraps for as long as a year or two, maybe more! When it’s at the end of its life (no longer molding to the heat of your hands), add it to your compost. 

store leftovers without plastic

The packaging for these wraps was also plastic-free and completely compostable and/or easily recyclable. There was a little paper band around each beeswax wrap set, but that was it. It also came in a paper envelope with no plastic padding. Yay for no waste!


Cloth dish covers

store leftovers without plastic

Another way I like to store leftovers without plastic is by using cloth dish covers. These are super handy and absolutely adorable. They’re made from 100 percent cotton with elasticized edges. I got mine from Life Without Plastic, but they’re currently sold out (I’ll update this when they’re back in stock again). 

Here’s another pair of cotton bowl covers that are (in stock) super cute and come in multiple different designs. The smaller cover can stretch to fit bowls up to 9.25 inches; The larger cover can fit bowls measuring up to 10.75 inches. Pretty versatile if you ask me!

What I love about cloth dish covers is they’re also hand or machine washable and can be used indefinitely. I have mine now for over a year and they haven’t ripped or torn yet. If you want to keep them looking pristine make sure to wash them after use. You can even iron out any wrinkles, if those bother you. For us, we care more about function than aesthetic (though they’re adorable regardless).

You can store anything from meat to salad using these. Got a big bowl of leftovers? Just slip one of these cotton cloth dish covers over it and place it in the fridge. Easy, quick, done. It keeps your food fresh too, I promise. We’ve stored meat in these and it kept fresh for over a week. Take that plastic wrap.



store leftovers without plastic

Glassware is another great way to store leftovers without plastic. This is a great replacement for people who like to store their leftovers in Tupperware. I love my glassware and use it daily to store my zero waste lunches

Glassware is leak proof thanks to the snap-on tops and super versatile. You can use it to freeze leftovers, or heat up leftovers in the microwave (just make sure the snap-on top is off first). You can even use them to store take-out when you go to a restaurant. 

Just call the restaurant beforehand and ask them if you can bring your own container. If they say yes, make sure your glassware is clean, then head on over to pick up your meal.

Glassware is also oven safe, giving you a ton of leeway. You can do so many things with this non toxic container from baking, to freezing, to meal prep. The choice is yours.


Mason jars

store leftovers without plastic

No zero waster is complete without their trusty mason jar! All jokes aside, it’s no wonder the zero waste community loves mason jars so much: You can use them to store everything from soup to raw vegetables. 

I use mason jars to store leftover sauteed spinach, cooked rice, pesto, leftover salad, etc. The list goes on. In the picture above, I’m using mason jars to store cooked cabbage (left), carrot top greens, leftover pesto (made from carrot tops), and food scraps (I’ll use these to make zero waste vegetable broth).

Mason jars are also handy to have around if you love to do canning. Canning is a skill I’ve always wanted to learn (maybe one day). You certainly can’t learn it without mason jars though!

You can also use mason jars to take home leftovers when you’re at a restaurant and can’t finish your food. Instead of using a disposable container, plop whatever you can’t finish into a convenient little mason jar. I’ve done it!

I’ve frozen a lot of leftover pasta sauce and homemade soups in mason jars too. It’s not hard to freeze food without plastic. Mason jars are actually my go-to for freezing leftovers. They’re amazing at keeping food fresh. I’m convinced they are the ultimate non toxic food storage containers.

store leftovers without plastic

How do you store leftovers without plastic? Leave a comment below and let me know!

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


  1. I sometimes use a plate or saucer on top of my bowl for storing in the refrigerator,makes it easy to stack a couple of bowls that way

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