When searching for information about the safety of microwaving plastic, results can vary and often times be quite difficult to comprehend. Let’s add clarity to the subject by defining what is type 5 plastic, and can I safely microwave plastic number 5?
Plastics are a synthetic material manufactured from natural compounds such as fossils fuels. The synthetic compounds are complex, and plastics feature a variety of capabilities and consist of many properties making them useful in a variety of situations.
Type 5 polypropylene is considered to be the safest plastic to use in microwaves because it is heat resistant and remains sturdy when heated. After microwaving, number 5 plastic still feels cool whereas other types of plastic feel hot, melt or warp when heated.
When using plastic in the microwave, consider the resilience to both heat and melting. For the best results, use type 5 plastic microwave safe items as it can take extreme heating and cooling conditions, unlike other kinds of plastics.
Is it safe to microwave plastic?
Plastics are generally derived from petrochemicals such as natural gas, coal, and oil. Keeping this in mind, it is easy to argue that that those raw resources are not consumable, therefore the assumption can be derived that it is not safe to microwave plastic.
The main reason for not microwaving any plastic is because of the content of plasticizer substances. A compound that has gain much attention over the past few years is BPA or bisphenol-A because it has been proven to be very harmful to the body.
Type 5 polypropylene is a certain type of plastic that is considered to be safe for microwave use. Elements like heat and cold resistance make pp plastic safer to use in the microwave.
To be safe and avoid any kind of risk while operating a microwave, it is best to use plastic containers that are microwave safe. Also, we must avoid using old plastic containers that have cracks or scratches in them as they have an increased chance to leach chemical compounds into your food items.
What is the safest plastic?
High-Density Polyethylene is considered to be the safest plastic out of all, in general it is recommended to stick to microwaving BPA-free plastics. This plastic is generally used to manufacture products such as jugs, toys, plastic bags, and bottles.
Number 5 plastic is recyclable and the process to recycle is very simple and cost-effective. One reason for its safety is that type 5 plastic is very hard and can withstand both extreme heating and freezing.
To better understand which type of plastic is safe to use in a microwave, check the synthetic material on the bottom of all plastic containers. The recycling number directly relates to the top of plastic used to make the product.
- 5 is polypropylene, PP, and is considered to be safe for microwave use.
- 3, 6, 7 are not microwave safe
- 1, 2, 4 are sometimes microwave safe.
Plastics that are not safe to be used in the microwave are type 3 PVC, type 6 polystyrene, and type 7 polycarbonate. These plastic might leach the harmful chemical Bisphenol into your food, which will make them unsafe to eat.
What if plastic melts in the microwave?
Not every plastic has the chance to melt in the microwave as they are commonly labeled microwave safe. Plastics such as type 3 PVC and type 6 polystyrene pose the risk of melting in the microwave as they do not have high heating and freezing resistance capacity.
The disfiguirng or warping might be leaching harmful chemicals caused when plastic melts. The leaching of plastic can result in the release of harmful chemicals like bisphenol which is harmful to the body.
Always make sure to verify the label, manufacturers guidelines and use microwave-safe plastic to avoid such instances.
How do you know if #5 plastic is microwavable?
To determine whether or not plastic is microwavable is fairly straightforward. Just look at the bottom of the plastic for a #5 or microwave safe label.
This means that the plastic is completely made from polypropylene which is considered to be microwave-safe plastic.
CPET, #1 is also considered as microwave-safe plastic and is generally used in the home appliance. The CPET symbols represent that these plastic have the capability of taking extreme heat.
Plastics that have labels APET (E), #1 and #7 are not safe for microwave.
All plastics have recycling codes on them which can be seen before making a purchase. Each of these labels has its significance, as mentioned above the labels will offer you a clear understanding of the type of plastic and are you able to use it in the microwave.
Tips to Microwave Number 5 Plastic:
Type 5 plastic is the preferred polymer for microwave use. Even though it may be safe to nuke number 5 plastic, below are microwave tips to improve your effectiveness and help individuals to operate the microwave at its full potential.
Tips to microwave #5 plastic very safely without facing any issues:
- Use medium or low power level. The microwave can be extremely powerful. When nuking plastic, even type 5 plastic, it is recommended to use a reheat or defrost setting, and not use the microwave to cook food inside a plastic container.
- Do not heat for extended periods of time. In general, microwaving plastic contours for longer than 3 minutes at a time is not recommended.
- Do not leave hot food in plastic containers. Prolonged exposure of hot food and hot plastic is not good, even if it is number 5 plastic. It’s best to transfer the food to dish made of ceramic or glass.
- Do not use crack, warped or damaged plastic containers. Plastic containers that have been overused increase the risk of exposing harmful chemicals to heated food.
- Stir, stir and stir again. Stop and stir the food ever 30 seconds to a minute. Short durations with persistent stirring will promote even heating and effectively reduce the overall microwaving time.
Number 5 Plastic Microwave Safety: Final Thoughts
Not all plastic is microwavable which is why it is essential to keep a note on the ones that are microwave safe. In general, number 5 plastic is microwave safe, and considered to be the best type of plastic to use in the microwave.
Personally, I opt for ceramic or glass products instead of plastic materials. The natural matter has proven capacity to withstand high heat without harmful side effects associated with synthetic products.
Here are the best microwave safe containers available for you to select an option that suits your needs.
Microwaving plastic can have adverse effects such as melting, warping and leaching harmful chemicals into your food. Heating the wrong type of plastic can potentially release toxic substances such as Bisphenol-A, which is harmful to the body.
Keeping in mind that recycling labels are located on the bottom of all plastic containers. Using the code, you can identify the plastic used in the manufacturing of the container and therefore avoid microwaving potentially hazardous plastic.
Follow manufacturer recommendations and check if a microwave safe label is inscribed on the plastic container. Lastly, do not use plastic that is unsafe for microwave use, has been scratched, melted or warped in any way because this can leach harmful chemicals into your food.