Indestructible, Practical Tupperware

The bottom of a green, plastic colander where the word TUPPERWARE is clearly visible.

A few years ago, I bought a colander at a vintage market out of pure nostalgia. It’s the same as the one my mom had while I was growing up. And it looked none the worse for wear. That’s because it was Tupperware.

How many times did mom say, “I’m going to a Tupperware party!” It seemed like someone in the neighbourhood became a newly-minted salesperson every six months or so.

Chemist Earl Tupper created the unbreakable, burpable plastic containers in 1946. The home party concept was so successful, that Tupperware pulled its products from retail stores and focused only on direct sales. Tupperware needed a demonstration to be successful – it didn’t sell well just sitting on a shelf. Mary Kay Cosmetics and Sarah Coventry jewellery would follow, but Tupperware set the standard for the home party concept.

A square, white container with a lid. Both clearly say TUPPERWARE on them.
I found this container and lid in my Mom’s kitchen after she died. I’m pretty sure she used it for our school lunches, more than four decades ago.

It brought back memories of another in-homs demonstration from a different company. Do you remember the Hoky Sweeper? Now it’s called a carpet sweeper. Melville Bissell (yes, THAT Bissell) invented in the 1880s. It had new life in the 1960s and 70s. I can still remember a man coming into our home and throwing coffee grounds, pet hair, and other stuff on the floor, to show our mom how well the sweeper picked it all up without using electricity. Yes, she purchased one and used it often.

But I digress.

The Little Container That Survived

Tupperware was on its last legs but had enjoyed a resurgence during the pandemic. Last year, the company signed a deal with Target to distribute containers to all their stores. But after the company announced earlier this year that it probably wouldn’t be able to come up with enough merchandise, its stock fell almost 50%. Tupperware was $700-million in debt and sales were soft. Then within days, Tupperware stock soared by 700%. Analysts say there was a rush to purchase the stock because it was cheap and speculators believe the company will turn things around. .

Tupperware stock has fallen again, but not to its historic low. The company might still go bankrupt. Or it could have an amazing, lasting comeback. But its products – made of virtually indestructible plastic – will still be here long after the company is gone. And unlike other plastics, I’ve never known a piece of Tupperware to end up in a landfill. It might get lost or accidentally melted on the stove, but otherwise, it lasts forever.

6 thoughts on “Indestructible, Practical Tupperware”

  1. I’m like you, I am a big fan of Tupperware, and I remember how it played a big role in my mother’s kitchen when I was a kid. Call that the inter-generational promotion program!

    It is such a great product, it would be a shame if the company went bankrupt.

    1. I agree! And while single-use plastics are problematic, Tupperware is virtually impossible to wreck. But it IS still plastic so maybe that’s part of the issue.

  2. Funny that – my mom had that exact same colander! I remember a big melted swipe on the side from an encounter with a hot pot on the stove, but otherwise it prevailed. Just last year I bought a beautiful pastel set of bowls (as seen on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) through my high school and lifelong friend Lori. She still distributes them…long may Tupperware thrive! Reduce, reuse, recycle!

  3. I, too, am a big fan of Tupperware. I also am fond of “vintage” Pyrex. I have a Pyrex lemonade pitcher that is at least 50 years old! Can’t argue with that kind of durability.

    1. Oh yes! I have to stop myself every time I see a set of Pyrex bowls at a vintage market. I already have some! But my instinct is to get more. Thanks, Wendy.

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