Can you freeze plastic containers? Chances are you’ve used plastic countless times in your life. Plastic is an essential material, whose incredible versatility makes it indispensable for important domestic and commercial uses. But then, with so many uses, is it safe to freeze food in plastic containers? Or is it healthy to cook food in a plastic container? And what types of plastic are safe? You’ll find the answers in this article! Read on!
Types of plastics
In general, plastic food containers are made from different types of plastic. Usually, the triangular mark contains a “resin identification number” inside. This number actually indicates the degree of recyclability of the plastic, and the triangle determines whether the plastic is recyclable or not.
Some plastics are preferred over others when it comes to storing and packing food. In general, safe plastics include materials such as
1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE):
It is the most popular plastic container shape on the market. Used to store all kinds of foods and beverages such as water, juice, mayonnaise, etc., PET jars can be reused once they are cleaned with soapy water. However, a word of warning: research shows that washing PET bottles over and over again can lead to the penetration of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals into stored food or water. Discard your PET jar if it cracks or appears cloudy.
2. High-density polyethylene (PEHD):
Another safe plastic used to make milk pots and water bottles, high-density polyethylene doesn’t release toxic or carcinogenic chemicals into water or food and is accepted by most recycling companies.
3. Low-density polyethylene (PEBD):
This type of plastic does not release chemicals into stored food but is not readily accepted by recyclers. LDPE plastics are generally used to make sealable sandwich bags, plastic films, and compressible condiment bottles.
4. Polypropylene (PP):
This type of plastic container does not release any chemicals into food or water, but not all organizations recycle polypropylene. It is mainly used for the manufacture of yogurt and other reusable snack containers.
This plastic is usually used to make cups, picnic plates, and plastic utensils. It is created from renewable sources such as maize, potatoes, sugar cane and other starchy foods.
These plastics are very dangerous and can cause chronic diseases. Dangerous plastics include:
1. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC):
This type of plastic is regularly used to make packaging and other plastic containers. PVC releases dioxins that are classified as carcinogenic to humans. PVC also contains phthalates that can cause hormonal malfunction and can even cause hormonal damage.
2. Styrofoam (PS):
This plastic is used to make cups, cartons and takeaway containers. The popular white foam cup is made of polystyrene, whose manufacture releases carcinogenic and toxic chemicals that can cause many health problems.
3. Polycarbonate (PC):
Usually used to make bottles and water fountains, polycarbonate contains bisphenol A, whose hormonal disturbance qualities are known.
In general, the best plastic container to store frozen food in a plastic container that is water vapor resistant and has a lid on it. These plastics are completely safe and can be used for years. On the other hand, you may want to consider using Pyrex glass containers with lids to freeze, microwave, and store food. They are fairly easy to obtain and pose no threat, unlike the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that are used to make plastic (1).
Is it safe to freeze food in plastic containers?
You have looked at the different safe and dangerous plastics and the types of plastic that you can use effectively to freeze food. Plastic has many domestic and industrial uses, but it is not a good material for cooking, reheating, storing and freezing food, even if the plastic is marked as microwave-safe or temperature resistant. Also, the next time you’re about to freeze food, consider wrapping it in aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap.