How To Safely Use Plastic Product

Plastic is formed from groups of monomer called polymer. To tie the polymer, other chemicals are needed. These additional chemicals can be dissolved when being exposed to the sun or heat and are very dangerous if accidently consume by human being. This might happen when plastic products are use as food packaging. As it would be impossible to completely give up the use of plastic product, it is important to know what we can do to minimize the danger.

Choose Polypropylene for plastic food container.

First thing to do is to recognize different kind of plastic and its use. For example,

Polyethylene Tereplhthalate (code PET) is used as soft drink bottles and jam jars, High Density Polyethylene (code HDPE) is used as margarine tubs or trash bags, etc. If you want to use plastic as food or beverage container, choose ones with a PP code. PP is the short of Polypropylene. To make it simple, plastic container manufacturers usually add “food grade” mark or symbol of knives and fork on their products which can be used to store food. There are certain types of plastic that should be avoided such as vinyl (PVC) due to its extremely harmful chemical release.

Do not store certain foods and beverages in plastic container

Chemicals in plastic can be dissolved when exposed to extreme heat. Thus, it is not safe to store hot food or beverages in plastic containers. The hotter the content, the bigger is the possibility of contamination by dangerous chemicals. Acid and cooking oil also have the tendency to trigger chemical reaction in plastic. Acid can be found, for example in vinegar or prickle. So, do not store fatty and acidic food in plastic containers.

Do not use thin plastic wrap to store food or beverage.

The chemicals in thin plastic wrap tend to dissolve more easily. Do not use it to store

food or beverages. It would be safer to use butcher paper, cellulose bags or waxed paper to wrap food.

Do not heat plastic.

Some plastic containers are said to be microwave safe. But even so, heating plastic in a microwave or in and oven should be avoided as far as possible. Please not that yoghurt, ice cream tubs and other cold storage containers are usually not designed for reheating in a microwave or oven. If you want to defrost meat, do not heat it in its plastic packaging in a microwave.  Do not heat takeaway food plastic containers.

Stop using Styrofoam.

Sad but true, in South East Asia, styrofoam is still used extensively to store food. Styrofoam or polystyrene contains styrene which can be easily dissolved. Styrine can damage brain cells. If you cannot avoid using Styrofoam, at least do not use it to store hot food and you must dump it after the first use. As a safeguard, insert clean paper between the styrofoam and the food so the two will not be in direct contact.

Do not reuse plastic package

Any kind of plastic packaging used for non-food items should not be reused to store food. When you buy takeaway food or beverage in plastic food containers that are designed for single use, throw them out right away after use.  Do not reuse it to store other foods. Reusable plastic food containers such as cups, boxes, bottles or plates are relatively safe for repeated use. However, they should be replaced once discoloration, cracks or abrasions start to appear.

Article Written By Yovita Siswati

Yovita Siswati is a blogger at

Last updated on 03-07-2016 137 0

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