What is Sustainable and What is the Cost to the Environment?

Vacuum Sealing Bags and the Environment

If you like to cook, then the reasons for buying a vacuum sealer are probably clear:

  • Packaging up portions of meat, fish and veggies for the freezer so that they stay fresh for longer.
  • Splitting a money-saving bulk shop down into smaller amounts that are easy to store
  • Making the most of your pantry shelf space by keeping everything in neat packages and freshly sealed jars.
  • Having a range of pre-prepared meals in your fridge ready to cook when you come home from work.

The list goes on, and if you’ve had a look around this website, you’ll see that we’re pretty enthusiastic about the many reasons why buying a vacuum sealer is a brilliant investment for your home. Take a look at this article if you require more justification.

So we feel that owning a vacuum sealer is a smart move for you.  But is it a smart move for our planet?

We’ve all – thankfully – become a lot more aware of how our unchecked consumerism is damaging the environment. We’re tearing through valuable resources on the one hand and throwing away harmful, man-made waste products, like unwanted packaging, on the other. And one of the worst things is plastic. It’s a wonderful invention which has made our daily lives easier in countless ways, but plastic doesn’t break down easily and is clogging up landfill sites the world over.

There is an obvious problem if you are concerned about the future of planet Earth but are also a fan of vacuum sealing – What about all those plastic vacuum sealer bags?

Well, don’t panic and bin your vacuum sealer just yet! There are a number of ways in which you can reduce its impact on the environment.

Reuse Your Vacuum Sealer Bags

This may seem a no-brainer, but the common thing to do when you’ve cut open one of your vacuum sealed plastic bags and removed its contents is to throw it in the bin.

But with a vacuum sealer, you have another option. You can use it again for something else.

It’s easy. When you first open the bag, split it open as close to the sealed seam as you can. This way you aren’t wasting any of the bag. Remove the food or whatever it is from the bag. Give the bag a good wash – both inside and out – and dry it thoroughly. I like to give mine a good airing on the washing line with my tea towels!

And now the next time you have something that you wish to vacuum seal, pop it in the old, and now clean, vacuum sealer bag and seal it closed, just as you normally would.

If you are careful with how you open the bags each time, you should find that you can get multiple uses out of one plastic pouch. This is great for reducing landfill and also good for your wallet.

Close up of eggplants vacuum packed for long-term storage.

Reseal Opened Bags

So you open a big bag of potato chips (crisps) and don’t want to finish them all (unlikely, I know). What do you do? Do you put the remaining chips in a smaller bag or container in an attempt to keep them fresh until the next time you fancy them? Or do you think they will go stale anyway and so eat them all when you hadn’t really planned to?

If you have a vacuum sealer, the dilemma over whether or not to polish off the entire bag of chips is solved as you can slide the open end of the bag into the mouth of the appliance and reseal it. It’s the perfect solution for both the environment and your healthier eating plans, but a real downer if you secretly wanted to eat all the chips.

Seal Jars and Containers

Once you’ve got the hang of using your vacuum sealer, you’ll find that there is a whole world of things that you can seal that you may not have not thought of. And many of them are far more sustainable than the basic vacuum sealer bag.

Most brands of vacuum sealer come with some kind of accessory hose (They are also called an adaptor hose, an attachment kit and an air suction hose, amongst other things). One end of this simple tube plugs into the body of the vacuum sealer, whilst the other fits a range of attachments which allow you to vacuum seal beyond the plastic pouch.

For more on the finer details of vacuum sealer attachments, please take a look at our article Vacuum Sealer Accessory Hose

The hose attachment allows you to seal jars and various types of containers using your vacuum sealer. And this means that you can move away from using plastic bags for many items – especially things like dry goods that you would store on a pantry shelf rather than in the freezer.

Let me give you an example: You buy a kilo bag of coffee beans, but your coffee grinder only holds 200g of beans at a time. Leaving the bag open means that the beans will start to lose their ‘just roasted’ flavour. Putting the beans in a new bag just adds to the single use plastic nightmare. The alternative is pouring your excess beans into a jar or canister and vacuum sealing it shut. Then, when you wish to refill your coffee grinder, you just open the jar and decant another 200g of beans. And then you simply seal the jar closed again. This way you can use quite small portions of something, keep it fresh between openings and look after our planet.

It’s worth mentioning that apart from different kinds of adaptor hoses, some brands of vacuum sealer also have their own range of containers which have been designed specifically to go with their device, like the very popular FoodSaver range

However, trial and error through our own purchases have established that some of the generic vacuum sealer containers are equally as capable as FoodSaver (and somewhat cheaper too).

Whether you choose to go with the big brand name or another product, containers designed for use with vacuum sealers are a great convenience. They allow you to store an enormous variety of items safely, stack neatly and can be used again and again.

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