Plastic containers seem to be everywhere nowadays. They are used for storing food, drinks, and many other items. However, not all plastics are created equally when it comes to safety for food storage. Some plastic containers can leach harmful chemicals into your food and potentially cause health problems.
Here, we will go over the different types of plastics commonly found in food storage containers and what you should look out for when shopping for safe options. We’ll also provide some tips on how to safely use plastic containers and give some alternatives that are just as convenient.
Understanding Plastic Numbers
Every plastic container has a number inside a recycling triangle symbol on its bottom – these numbers indicate what type of plastic was used during manufacturing. The six most common types of plastics that you’ll find in food storage containers are:
- PET – Used for water bottles, soft drink bottles, salad dressing bottles
- HDPE – Used for milk jugs and detergent bottles
- PVC – Used for cling wrap and some squeeze bottles
- LDPE – Used to make sandwich bags or produce bags
- PP – Used for yogurt cups, take-out soup cups or microwavable meals.
- PS/Polystyrene– Used typically in Styrofoam cups.
Each type of plastic has different properties that affect its safety level in regards to human consumption.
What To Avoid?
These have been flagged several times over the years primarily due to phthalates being present which is toxic & carcinogenic after long term exposure. BEING AWARE OF POTENTIAL RISKS IS IMPORTANT
Polycarbonates are clear, ultraviolet-light-resistant plastics that have high impact resistance. They can also leach BPA, a chemical which can disrupt the endocrine system and mimic estrogen – generally not suitable for hot food or acidic items such as tomato sauce.
Styrofoam containers squished everywhere! Though effective insulators & commonly used to keep takeout meals & drinks hot or cold unfortunately they’re are very bad for our environment along with being single use.
Safe Plastic Options
PET plastic is safe because it does not contain Bisphenol A . Most types of salad dressing bottles, water and soft drink bottles are made out of this material among other things like medical IV bags. It’s always important to check if the container says “BPA-Free” before purchasing.
HDPE is microwavable safe and has low hazards associated with stuff like white milk jugs, detergent bottle, s juice cartons etc but caution should be taken when putting them in the dishwasher especially at temperatures ABOVE 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
LDPLastic bags are entirely straightforward; simply avoid heating them or washing them too often since they break down faster than their counterparts while doing so…and start getting into your food. VEGGIE RANGE PACKAGING COULD BE AN OPTION HERE
This kind of plastic shouldn’t be used on products intended for long-term storage unless specifically labeled otherwise since PP begins degrading at about 165° Celsius. LOOK FOR PRODUCT SPECIFIC LABELS TO ENSURE PLEASE AND DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE HAVING FAITH IN CLAIMS OF SAFETY AGAINST THE HOTTEST TEMPERATURES
The most common use of PS is for foodservice packaging including cups, bowls, plates and trays. It should NOT BE USED FOR HOT FOOD ITEMS OR MICROWAVES not good from an environmental standpoint.
Disposable plastic dinnerware has almost been replaced by paper They’re pretty nice these days! This progress in eliminating Styrofoam products can be seen as a significant win for the environment
Tips on Safely Using Plastic Containers
- Wash your containers before first-use with hot water and soap.
- Do not microwave polycarbonate or PVC containers since they can potentially leach toxic chemicals.
- Avoid putting plastic containers in the dishwasher if possible – while heat isn’t mandatory some materials do risk break down when heated repeatedly.
- Never put hot liquids inside of plastic containers unless it’s specifically labeled as being safe to use
? Chemicals from the plastics themselves increasingly migrate into foods, eventually surpassing safety thresholds, according to data presented here last week at a meeting about hormone disruptors. ) Avoid direct sunlight exposure that could warm them up.
Alternatives To Plastic Containers
Glass and Stainless steel are sturdy contenders.
What number indicates safe plastics?
What type of plastic is safe for water bottles?
Can stovetop instructions be trusted?
How should you clean plastic containers?
Plastic can have many uses in our daily lives but we need to be aware that certain types around us may not always be healthy. Pet related concerns seems likely that some methods now used like biodegradable pet bowl liners will become more common than classic polypropylene. Nevertheless there are plenty of options out there among material alternatives like glass far superior to plastic containers in terms of healthy food storage probabilities and longevity!