Not all plastic storage boxes are microwavable. Whether a plastic storage box is safe for use in the microwave depends on the type of plastic it is made from and its specific design.
Plastics are labeled with a recycling code, often found on the bottom of the container, which indicates the type of plastic used. The following plastic types are commonly used in food storage containers:
Polypropylene (PP) – Generally considered microwave-safe, but it’s always best to check the specific product labeling. PP containers are known for their heat resistance and are often used for microwave-safe plastic containers.
High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – Microwave-safe and commonly used for food packaging. HDPE containers are generally safe for microwave use.
Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET) – While PET is safe for storing many foods, it may not be suitable for microwave use, as it can warp or release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.
Polycarbonate (PC) – Not recommended for microwave use. Polycarbonate plastics can release harmful chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), when exposed to heat.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and exercise caution when using plastic storage boxes in the microwave to ensure the safety of both the container and the food being heated.
It’s important to note that not all plastic containers within these categories are microwave-safe, so it’s essential to check the specific labeling and instructions provided by the manufacturer. Look for labels or symbols indicating that the container is microwave-safe, such as “Microwave Safe” or a microwave symbol.
If a plastic storage box is not labeled as microwave-safe, it is best to transfer the food to a microwave-safe glass or ceramic container before heating. Glass and ceramic containers are generally safe for microwave use, but be sure to check for any specific instructions or warnings provided by the manufacturer.
Additionally, it’s advisable to avoid plastics labeled with recycling codes such as polycarbonate (PC) or polystyrene (PS) for microwave use, as these plastics can release harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.
Which plastic is not suitable for microwave
Plastics that are not suitable for microwave use include:
Polycarbonate (PC): Polycarbonate plastics should not be used in the microwave as they can release harmful chemicals, such as bisphenol A (BPA), when exposed to high temperatures.
Polystyrene (PS): Polystyrene plastics, commonly known as Styrofoam, should not be used in the microwave. They can melt or leach chemicals into food when heated, posing health risks.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC plastics should be avoided in the microwave as they can release toxic chemicals when exposed to heat.
Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): While LDPE plastics are generally considered safe for many applications, they are not recommended for use in the microwave as they can warp or melt under high heat.
Other plastics without a specific microwave-safe label or code: Plastics that do not have a microwave-safe label or recycling code indicating their suitability for microwave use should be avoided. These plastics may not be able to withstand the heat and may release harmful chemicals.
To ensure microwave safety, it’s important to check the labels and recycling codes on plastic containers. Look for containers that are specifically labeled as microwave-safe or that indicate the use of microwave-safe materials like polypropylene (PP) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE).
If you are unsure about the microwave safety of a plastic container, it is best to transfer the food to a microwave-safe glass or ceramic container for heating. These materials are generally considered safe for use in the microwave and do not leach harmful chemicals when exposed to heat.