Colorful food in nontoxic glass containers

Choosing the Best Glass Containers for Non-Toxic Living: A Comprehensive Guide

diet kitchen Mar 12, 2024

Updated 2024 March 11 by Sophia Ruan Gushée

Glass containers are often described as one of the most nontoxic options for kitchen cookware and drinkware. But, is glass really nontoxic?

Similar to why not all plastics are the same, not all glass is the same.

Glass containers can be created with different formulas (or recipes) for glass. How safe or nontoxic glass is as cookware, drinkware, or food containers depends on what it's made of and if it's decorated.

The most concerning ingredients that glass has been reported to contain include:

  • Lead (neurotoxic)
  • Cadmium (neurotoxic)
  • BPA (endocrine-disrupting)
  • Nanoparticles (these may penetrate membranes that are designed to protect) 

Regardless of the risks from glass containers, since no material for cookware, food storage containers, beverage containers, drinkware, and bakeware is 100% nontoxic and risk-free, glass is generally one of the most non-toxic storage solutions to include in your kitchen.Yet, a few nuances can optimize your choice of glass containers for non-toxic living.

In this article, we explore glass as a material in your practical non-toxic kitchen and share the best glass container brands that I've experienced. You will learn more about glass as bakeware, drinkware, food storage containers, and cookware as well as the #1 type of glass to look for. 

Choosing the best glass containers will be much easier if you consider the tips in this article. This article can refine your health-conscious storage options so that your glass food containers are not just chemical-free food storage but also eco-friendly glass containers. We want your sustainable kitchenware to be good for both you and our planet!

Please note that the images link to Ruan Living's Amazon store. If you purchase things from these links, Ruan Living earns an Amazon affiliate commission. So, thank you in advance! It supports our work.

Two common types of glass

When shopping for glass containers, bakeware, drinkware, and bar products, be aware of two types of glass that are often used: borosilicate glass and soda-lime glass.

Borosilicate glass containers are more heat resistant than other forms of glass so they can be used in the freezer, microwave, and oven. The two key chemicals in borosilicate glass are boron trioxide and silica, which are reportedly safe and environmentally-friendly. Borosilicate glass is a cornerstone in my non-toxic living.

Less expensive and readily available, soda-lime glass is relatively durable at only normal temperatures. It’s susceptible to shock and does not handle extreme changes in heat.

Avoid lead in glass

Beware that crystal, lead-crystalglazes, colors, or other decorative elements on glass may contain heavy metals or toxic/risky chemicals. Possible indications that glass contains lead:

  • Sound. Tap the glass gently with a knife. A drawn-out chiming sound can indicate lead crystal. A duller, briefer sound (like a thud) when struck is generally created by regular glass.
  • Weight. Glass with lead tends to be heavier.
  • Markings. Examine your glass product for any manufacturer markings and research them. This can sometimes reveal whether there is lead in the glass.
  • Prisms. Check online for articles on what to look for when examining how light reacts to the glass. 

How might non-decorated glass harbor toxic chemicals?

Some glass containers are coated with bisphenol-A, or BPA. Roetell, a supplier of customized glass packaging for over 30 years, reports,"Some glass containers may be coated with BPA-containing resins to make them more durable." For the most certainty that you're choosing the "cleanest" non-toxic storage solutions, look for glass containers labeled “BPA-free.'

Glass can be sustainable kitchenware

What touches our food and drinks can contaminate what they contain. So use glass thoughtfully.

Glass is a time-tested material and can be nontoxic. While there are debates on the carbon footprint glass containers and recycling them create, from my toxic exposures expertise, they are environmentally-friendly containers, the most non-toxic storage solutions, and can often be safe food storage options if you follow manufacturers' instructions.

Below are the various ways that glass is used in my home. I buy them in borosilicate glass when possible.

Glass bakeware

Glass bakeware can be used to bake breads and pies. I grease their inner surface areas with butter for nonstick properties before pouring in a recipe for bread or pie crust. 

(image above leads to Ruan Living's Amazon store, an Amazon affiliate link)

I have successfully made bread and pie crust in glass bakeware. Be aware that some Internet articles report that baking pie in glass can lead to uneven heating. I haven't noticed this but follow manufacturer's instructions to use glass safely!

Glass drinkware

I like borosilicate glass because it seems more durable. Soda-lime glass is a practical nontoxic option too. Just beware that soda-lime glass may break more easily but is also less expensive.

Again, beware that decorative glass—glass with glazes or enamel, is colored, and lead crystal (or crystal)—may leach toxic chemicals or heavy metals. So research your purchase of glass drinkware carefully. Save time by browsing options in Ruan Living's Amazon store.

Glass food containers

I love glass food containers that are multipurpose because they are safe enough to be used in the oven, microwave, and freezer. This type of versatile glass is made of borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glasses are more resistant to thermal shock than any other common glass. 

My favorite glass bowl containers for poke bowls or prepared salads

The below glass bowls have made practical nontoxic living even easier by eliminating more thinking in which ingredients to mix for poke bowls or salads.

(image above leads to Ruan Living's Amazon store, an Amazon affiliate link)

Another popular glass product I use for food and beverage containers are mason jars. These have been so versatile in my kitchen! We use them for storing homemade sauces and dips, soups, dehydrated fruit, nuts, and more. Be aware, however, that the lids are reported to contain BPA, an endocrine disruptor. I avoid filling the mason jar to the rim to avoid contact with the lids. Cork lids can also be a good option but it's hard to know which ones are PFAS-free.

Glass for sauces and condiments

We use both Urban Green glass containers and reuse old jelly or honey jars to store sauces or condiments.

(image above leads to Ruan Living's Amazon store, an Amazon affiliate link)

Lids for glass containers

I used to find lids that are made of medical-grade silicone but that has become increasingly hard to find. Most often, they are made of plastic and it's hard to learn which type of plastic. 

Bamboo or other wood lids have become prevalent materials for glass containers. Also, cork is starting to appear for smaller glass containers. Both bamboo and cork are currently among my most used lid materials. However, even with these safer nontoxic and eco-friendly options, still try to avoid having your food stay in contact with the lid. For example, don't fill your mason jar to the rim so that it avoids constant contact with the lid since most lids may leach toxic/risky chemicals.

PFAS-free cork lids would also be a good choice but I haven't yet found cork lids that claim to be PFAS-free.

And even if the lids were 100% nontoxic wood and cork (we don't know if they're coated with Forever Chemicals or an antimicrobial treatment), the microorganisms that could grow from the food, moisture and lid materials may breed unhealthy exposures.

What are the best glass container brands?

Pyrex glass containers and glass bakeware

Established as a safe household glass, Pyrex was originally made of borosilicate glass when it was launched in 1915. However, its formula has changed and some Pyrex products are now made of soda-lime. There are also online reports of lead being detected in some. So, when purchasing Pyrex, please keep this in mind and read the manufacturer's claims carefully. Ask the manufacturer any questions you have before deciding on your purchase.

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Urban Green glass containers

The glass food storage containers that I've been using most often for my health-conscious storage options
and nontoxic meal prep solutions are from Urban Green (Amazon affiliate link). They are made of borosilicate glass, which creates more durable glass storage containers, and bamboo lids, which makes these even more eco-friendly glass containers.


While formulas for glass vary, glass is an essential material among my non-toxic storage solutions. By answering a few questions, glass containers can provide chemical-free food storage and be sustainable kitchenware. Be aware of what type of glass is used, and how the lids might create toxic exposures. My preferences are borosilicate glass with no decorative or colored elements. Soda-lime glass is a cheaper, more fragile, and more popular glass. I consider borosilicate glass containers with bamboo lids to be among the most safe alternatives to plastic storage. Remember that decorative elements, colors, and lead glass can contaminate with toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

Select sources

In addition to links throughout the article, below are additional select sources.

  • Garbo Glassware. "How to know whether the glass cups and bottles contain lead or not." Pulished on Feb. 15, 2019.
  • University of Plymouth. "Drinking glasses can contain potentially harmful levels of lead and cadmium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2017. <>.
  • Webb, Irina. Updated: December 30, 2019. "Lead Free Glassware Brands."

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About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

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