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Should I Throw Away My Old Tupperware?

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Many people were brought up in the Tupperware age, where you would find plastic food storage containers in fridges and freezers. Currently, almost every kitchen has a particular drawer set apart for placing Tupperware containers

Some people still keep leftover plastic margarine containers to store and reheat their food with, which is not recommended because it is not always safe to microwave plastic. Even if the Tupperware is microwave safe, is it ok to microwave an old Tupperware container?

Should you throw away old Tupperware? If your Tupperware container is old, you should use it for other purposes and no longer store or reheat food. Plastic containers that are cracked or warped are not safe since they might trap bacteria, and scratched surfaces can also leak harmful chemicals when microwaved.

However, you should not just throw plastic containers away because they don’t decompose quickly and it might take them 1000 years to fully breakdown. Consider returning them to Tupperware since the company accepts old Tupperware products and recycles them into new products.

Is All Tupperware Microwaveable?

All Tupperware containers are made of plastic, however not all Tupperware containers are safe for microwave use. The company has gone the extra mile in testing its products to determine which are microwavable.

Microwaving Tupperware to warm up meals is not as harmful, however using the containers when cooking meals may increase risk due to high heat. Tupperware containers are microwave safe when indicated on the bottom. 

If you are concerned about plastic leaching toxins into your food or melting in the microwave, worry no more. You can verify whether the Tupperware container is safe by checking the bottom for a microwave safe symbol with three wavy lines. 

Avoiding microwaving Tupperware or other plastic container without a safe label imprinted onto the bottom. And in some cases, they should not even be used to store food.

Is Vintage Tupperware Dangerous?

Vintage Tupperware may contain lead and arsenic, which can cause health risks such as high blood pressure, nervous system brain damage, bone poisoning, kidney failure, and poisoning of teeth. Similarly, arsenic is linked to causing diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart, and vascular diseases. 

Tupperware containers without decorations are said to be safe as they don’t contain arsenic and lead. However, colorful Tupperware containers may contain harmful chemicals such as cadmium which destroys kidneys, bones, and lungs, and also mercury which alters immune and digestive systems, including other vital organs.

Tupperware containers have been extremely popular since the ‘70s, but experts have warned against using them for microwaving food for many years. Currently, most items from Tupperware undergo thorough testing before being released into the market.

Does Tupperware Go Bad?

Tupperware has a lifespan exceeding 10 year if handled carefully, however they can discolor and crack over the years. If you expose the Tupperware container to fire, it can quickly melt and lose shape.

Additionally, old Tupperware are likely to be badly stained and exposed to strong odors.

Overtime, Tupperware containers permeate stains and odor due to different food stored, especially with acidic foods like tomato sauce or garlic odor left behind. These stains or odor do not remove easily and when not taken care of right away can reduce the life expectancy of the container. 

Determining whether or not the Tupperware is in good or bad condition depends on how well you care for it. All Tupperware-brand plastic containers should be washed with a soft sponge and a non-abrasive cleaner. 

To remove stains or off putting odors, use baking soda and soak overnight to resolve the issue. For any dishwasher safe containers, always use the top rack instead of the bottom rack since the heating elements can melt the plastic. 

Is Tupperware Still Guaranteed for Life?

Tupperware containers have a lifetime warranty covering cracking, breaking, peeling, chipping, and warping. A representative from Tupperware can always replace it, or credit your account towards future purchases.

Be aware that any type of damage from a microwave appliance is not covered by this warranty. Foods with high sugar or fat content can cause microwave damage easily. 

Furthermore, stains from food can discolor the container, and scratches or cuts are not covered by warranty as well. 

When Should I Throw Away Tupperware?

Plastic containers help in keeping leftovers safe in the fridge or freezer, and are also useful for carrying food for lunch. They are light and less delicate compared to glass and ceramic. 

However, these containers do not last forever, and they might end their natural lifespan. When the container is old enough, throw it away. 

Here are few instances when you should throw away those Tupperware:

  • Misplaced or Broken Lid: The container is only helpful if it has a lid. If the top is lost, and you don’t seem to find the right one to seal your container, it may not be useful anymore. Always take time to match the lids at least once a year and check if containers are in good condition so you can dispose or replace.
  • Older Than 10 Years: Old plastics are associated with the danger of leaching harmful chemicals known as BPA and phthalates. These chemicals are toxic and can pose various health risks when ingested. Tupperware has stopped manufacturing with these harmful additives, but if you are using a container older than ten years then it’s probably not safe. 
  • Physical Damage: In case you placed the plastic container too close to the stove and it got burnt, or scratched up on the bottom, it’s time to dispose of it. If you alter the smooth surface of the container, there is a possibility that the material is compromised. Such materials increase the chance of leaching harmful plastic chemicals into your food if you continue using it to reheat or store food. 
  • Don’t Like It: If you don’t like the storage containers, maybe it is too big or too small to adequately hold anything. Perhaps you don’t like the color, or the lids are no longer sealing appropriately. It’s just a sign that you should let go. 
  • Stained or Stinky: If it’s no longer easy to wash the stains from the container, and the smell is so bad with no end in sight, it’s time to replace the container. Holding onto a stained or stinky container can ultimately affect the food that is stored inside.

How Long Should You Keep Plastic Tupperware?

Many people hold plastic for an extended period since they are convenient for keeping leftovers, storing beans, and various dry products. It would be best if you let go of plastics because they contain toxic chemicals that can leach into your food. 

Some plastic containers have a lifespan of 5-10 years, as long as they are in good condition, while others can only last for a few months even if handled gently. 

There really is no specific time frame that you should use a plastic container. However, it would be best to dispose of them immediately; they crack or lose their color. If your containers are already losing their shape, having nasty stains, or you have held them for such a long time that you don’t know where they came from, then it’s probably time to replace them.

What Should I Do with Old Tupperware?

Tupperware plastics are convenient and practical, but they also have a particular lifespan. When they become old and lose shape, it’s time to transition them to another usage instead of food storage. 

Go the extra mile and reuse them by applying creative and innovative techniques to repurpose old plastic containers. Otherwise, just return them to the manufacturer for proper recycling into new containers. 

Should i throw away old Tupperware

Old Tupperware: Final Thoughts

Plastic containers can pose health risks if they contain harmful chemicals. Always check for microwave safe-label on the containers before using food containers in the microwave. 

If wonder whether or not to throw away old Tupperware, there are couple of check points to be evaluated.

Most Tupperware containers that are manufactured after 1979 are dishwasher safe. In some cases, you may encounter chipping along the edges of the container, breaking, peeling, cracking, and warping after using dishwasher. 

It is not safe to use distorted plastic containers for food storage, and you should use them for other purposes right away.

Using cracked or warped Tupperware may trap bacteria and scratches on the internal surface may leak harmful chemicals when food is stored inside. 

Food stains and odors are hard to get rid of. Old continuers can trap stains and smells in the material, which can have an impact of the food stored inside.

Most Tupperware has a lifetime warranty, but the life expectancy ultimately relates to how you care for them. 

Simply throwing away containers is a hazard to our environment since they decompose poorly. Always recycle plastics or return them to the company for recycling into new containers. 

Treat the Tupperware properly by double checking the microwave safe symbols at the bottom to reheat or store food correctly. With good care, old Tupperware can last long and be used for other purposes after being retired from handling food.


Wednesday 12th of April 2023

I have a lot of old Tupperware, some being 50 years old. It is still in good shape, however, some have chemical odors. I’ve never used them for microwaving, but do store liquids in them. I called Tupperware to see if I could get some kind of credit for newer products, but they said they will not do that. What are my options?


Monday 17th of April 2023

you can always use them to store and organize household items in the laundry room or garage.


Thursday 10th of November 2022

what about vintage mac tonight promo cups from the 80's? i just got a couple from a guy online and now i'm wondering if they are safe to actually drink out of.


Thursday 10th of November 2022

I highly doubt that they are bpa-free. So if that is a concern to you, then it would not be recommended to drink from them.

Theresa J Landen

Wednesday 19th of October 2022

I have Tupperware that is over 50 years old, no joke!! What should I do with it! In good to excellent condition.


Wednesday 19th of October 2022

If you feel comfortable using it, then I'm sure it is fine. However, I would not be using it to heat up food or store warm food after being cooked for fear that it may leach harmful chemicals like BPA into the food

Betty Mina

Monday 13th of June 2022

Who can I contact to replace my Tupperwares ? ZIP CODE 32246 Thanks


Saturday 24th of December 2022

@Betty Mina, I would be happy to assist you with your Tupperware warranty.


Tuesday 14th of June 2022

Contact Tupperware customer support directly for quick results


Saturday 28th of May 2022

Their website states that they are "currently upgrading our warranty system". Rubbermaid has always been much more affordable if you are hung up on name brand products. Tupperware has always been extremely overpriced and now that they are not standing behind their products there is absolutely no reason to buy it anymore.


Saturday 24th of December 2022

@Zank, The warranty has been updated and is now functional. Rubbermaid may be less expensive but does not carry a life time warranty. If you have pieces that need replaced, please contact me and I will be happy to assist.