I get this question a lot. It’s ok. I understand. In starting this business I spent a great deal of time choosing the container to package my kimchi and sauerkraut. I finally settled on the 16 oz plastic containers. But I frequently get this question, and this post is meant to explain my decision. I’ll give you my pros and cons that I used in coming to my decision and in the end, make your own decision. If you disagree or think I’ve got something wrong, please e-mail me! I give careful consideration to all suggestions and advice.
PRO: Most ferments are sold in glass containers. Glass can be recycled, indefinitely, into other glass containers or downcycled into products like fiberglass. It’s very inert, glass particles don't leach into the product contained. Plus it looks great.
CON: Glass is fragile and likely to break if dropped. It’s heavy so it requires more energy than plastic to transport. It’s fairly expensive (about $1.00 per container without label).
PRO: It’s light in weight. Most types of plastic can be recycled (check with your local recycling). It’s significantly cheaper than glass (about $0.45 per container). If dropped, it often won’t break.
CON: Plastic has a percieved unhealthy reputation; it’s made from oil sucked from deep in the earth. It’s processed. We know that plastic can be carcinogenic if it is exposed to direct sunlight.
>>>More on the breakdown of plastic. When plastic is in direct sunlight, UV rays (which make up the spectrum of light that falls to earth) can break bonds between carbon molecules. Once broken those molecules can leach as the plastic begins to breakdown. If plastic is kept out of direct sunlight it will break down very slowly and provide carcinogenic levels on par with glass.
Given the above I chose to use plastic as a cheaper alternative to glass that would be a bit more durable. I try to make my ferments available to people in food deserts and to educated folks about the benefits of probiotics. Many people I meet at my neighborhood market do not have access to probiotic rich food and I want to make it affordable for them. Perhaps in the future I will be able to buy glass containers (with plastic lids) in such quantities that is costs the same as plastic.
Those are my reasons for making my decision. Please let me know if you have any feedback. Fermentology.firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Peddie has been fermenting since 2006. Originally from Greensboro NC she has traveled all of the United States, often with active ferments. She now resides back in Greensboro where she enjoys spending time with family and gardening.