If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recycling plastic containers to keep food storage costs down . . .

Long-Term prepping is much less costly if plastic containers that contain foods or drinks can be recycled.  This is a brief rundown on the "food-grade" appropriate containers. 

The symbol may have PETE instead of PET.  Very good moisture barrier and very good oxygen barrier, which makes them very suited to long-term storage with an oxygen-absorber.  The soda bottles and fruit juice bottles have the kind of screw-on cap that gives a very good, airtight seal.  They do not have a good light-barrier, though, so must be kept in dark places.  Very good for grains, flour, pasta, rice, etc.  Not necessary for sugar, salt, and baking soda as these products do not have to be oxygen free, just moisture proof.  In fact, DO NOT use an oxygen absorber with sugar. 

One solution to the poor light barrier is to store the containers in a box. For example, collect the boxes that the 1/2 gallon juice containers come in from your grocer. Put the filled bottles back into their box -- voila, excellent protection against the light and product storage that is much easier to move around and organize. 

Very good moisture barrier, but poor oxygen barrier.  Not suited for storage with an oxygen absorber (it simply won't do any good as the plastic will begin to leak in oxygen).*  If you use these for short-term storage of wheat, etc, just don't bother putting in the oxygen absorber.  Very suitable for long-term storage of sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Very poor light barrier, so store in dark places. 

Very good moisture barrier, but poor oxygen barrier.  Very poor light barrier.  Not suitable for use with oxygen absorbers.  Very suitable for long-term storage of sugar, salt, and baking soda. 
Freeze First
You can still use the 2 HDPE and 5 PP food-safe plastic containers for long-term storage if you freeze the product first.  To use Freezing to disinfest your grains or flour, freeze at 0 degrees F for at least 4 days.  This will kill the insects at all stages.  Take out of freezer and keep at room temperature for 24 hours before packing in containers that have good screw-on lids to prevent any new infestation.  For documentation on that, see the BYU report in my previous post.  Just don't bother with the oxygen absorbers because they aren't going to work for very long anyway. 
So, what I am doing is using the PETE containers for long-term storage, and the
HDPE and PP containers for sugar, salt, and baking soda.  Any extra HDPE and PP ones will be used for intermediate storage of other dry products that have been frozen first, which I will use up first.
1st -- HDPE and PP containers with "frozen first" product
2nd -- PETE containers with oxygen absorbers & Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers
3rd -- #10 cans
*Many commercial sites sell their products in 5-gallon or 6-gallon buckets that are 2 HDPE and market them as long-term storage.  The BYU report from my last post says this is not 100% reliable -- the plastic buckets, even with gamma seals, do not consistently maintain an oxygen-free environment for the 12 days necessary to ensure the product is disinfested.  Buckets that have the product in mylar bags, however, are excellent for long-term storage.  The mylar bags provide the oxygen-free environment and the bucket provides protection from rodents. 
In future posts, I compare some ways to purchase various products for long-term storage.  In the meantime, start saving those PETE, HDPE, and PP plastic containers.  You can often get gallon-size HDPE or PP containers from restaurants.  FREE. 

1 comment:

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