Plastic containers are popular in our kitchens for their compatibility.
You can prepare, freeze and reheat food in a plastic container but is type 5 plastic microwave-safe?
Our write-up today contains detailed information about type 5 plastics.
Let’s dive in.
Is Type 5 Plastic Microwave-safe?
Yes. You can comfortably reheat your food in a microwave-safe container.
Type 5 plastics are made from polypropylene (PP), which is microwave safe.
Polypropylene is a strong heat-resistant material (thermoplastic resin). It withstands high heat without warping, melting, or getting distorted.
The Food and Drugs Administration approves Polypropene as BPA- free hence safe for human health.
The microwave-safe symbol for type 5 plastics is a #5 or 3 wavy lines inscription.
Tupperware is the most popular type 5 kitchenware in the market.
Related: Can you microwave BPA-free plastic?
Tips to Microwave Type 5 plastics
You will get the best results if you follow the following tips as you reheat #5 plastic in the microwave:
- Look for a microwave-safe symbol at the bottom of the container you intend to microwave.
- Place the type 5 container on a microwave-safe plate. Don’t let it sit bare on the microwave surface.
- Set the power button to medium or low level—all plastics, whether microwave safe or not, should be heated at medium heat for best results.
- Heat for the utmost 3 minutes. There’s no standard time limit for heating type 5 Plastic, but 3 minutes are ideal to have your food warmed up and retain the plastic container’s structural integrity.
- Monitor your food for 30 seconds and stir it to ensure even distribution of heat within your food. The stirring eliminates the chances of having uneven hot spots that cause burns in the mouth and guts.
- Create a vent on the lid to let out hot vapor.
- Don’t cook food in the microwave using a type 5 Plastic bowl. The bowls are ideal for reheating and storing food.
- Type 5 plastics are not ideal for serving food therefore, transfer your food to a ceramic plate immediately after reheating.
- Avoid damaged or cracked plastic containers since they are more prone to melting and chemical migration
- You can also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in the user-guide manual.
Properties of Type 5 Plastic that Make it Microwave-safe
#5 Plastics are heat resistant and withstand high microwave heat. This property makes them ideal for holding heated food without burning their walls.
Type 5 PP containers have high melting points and don’t melt easily when heated. They retain their original shape hence no spillages in the oven.
Polypropylene is chemically resistant and hence does not react with acids or alkalis. You will retain the taste and flavor of the food. If you reheat your food in type 5 containers.
Polypropylene is also insoluble and doesn’t absorb hot steam from food.
Type 5 Plastic containers are light, allowing microwave heat to penetrate through their walls into your food.
It is a poor conductor of electricity and hence cant create an electric charge in the oven.
What Does #5 on the Bottom of Type 5 Containers Mean?
The #5 inscription on type 5 plastics is an equivalent of 3 wavy lines. The two symbols indicate that the plastic is ideal for microwave safe.
Every plastic container has a recycling code on the bottom side. The recycling code determines the microwave safety of the container.
There are different types of containers with different inscriptions, which is what the symbols stand for:
#1 represents plastics made of polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) compound.
The compound is generally safe for microwave use under absolute caution.
It should be microwaved under medium heat; otherwise, it will warp or melt if overheated and leach toxins into your food.
Type 2 containers are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a heat-resistant compound.
Its heat-resistant properties make HDE containers ideal for microwave use.
These plastics make milk jugs, butter tubs, and yogurt containers (some).
Type 3, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), contains harmful chemical compounds and is a health hazard.
You should not use it to reheat your food since it will be prone to chemical migration.
Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), type 4 plastic, is used to make food packaging containers and cling wraps.
This type of plastic is heat resistant and is considered microwave-safe if used under medium heat.
Polypropylene (PP), type 5 Plastic, is the safest.
It is thermal resistant and hence withstands high microwave heat.
Its ability to withstand extreme temperatures makes it ideal for freezing and reheating food.
This symbol represents type 6 polystyrene containers.
Polystyrene is popular in styrofoam containers.
Type 6 plastics contain styrene, which is a carcinogenic toxin.
Polystyrene warps and melts under high temperatures hence not safe for microwave use.
Styrofoam is only ideal for storing hot foods due to its insulation properties.
Type 7 plastics are not made of any specific material.
Its properties are also not known hence generally unsafe for microwave use.
Mystery plastics are not tested by the FDA or assigned any number.
Their microwave- safety is not apparent hence refrain from using them.
The above description shows that #1, #2,#4, and #5 plastics are microwave-safe, while #3,#6, and #7 and mystery plastics are microwave-unsafe.
Type 1,2,4, and 5 plastics are heat resistant and thus don’t melt when microwaved. They can’t leach toxins into your food.
Type 3,6, and 7 plastic containers have a low melting point and contain harmful chemical compounds hence microwave-unsafe.
Microwave unsafe containers leach toxins into your food. The melted plastic pieces are also dangerous to the human body if ingested.
What are the Advantages of using Type 5 containers to reheat food in the microwave?
PP containers are heat resistant and do not warp or melt under high heat. This ensures they hold their initial shape hence no spillages resulting from shrinkage.
the outer surface of the containers remains cool even after being heated, minimizing the risk of severe burns.
Polypropylene containers are BPA free hence do not pose any health hazards to the users. No risk of allergies, cancers, or hormonal imbalances.
Type 5 plastics are strong and durable. They last longer than single-use, disposable plastic containers
#5 containers are recyclable, reducing pollution and impact on landfills.
They also don’t produce dangerous smells that cause breathing challenges.
Which Are the FDA Guidelines For Microwaving Plastics?
In pursuit of zero contamination of food and food handling safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that:
Manufacturers should label their plastic containers with safety codes or use the microwave-safe label.
A container with bold wavy lines at the bottom is safe for microwave use Containers with #2, #4, and #5 symbols are also microwave-safe.
Unlabeled plastics (mystery containers) are generally microwave-unsafe and should not be reheated.
#3, #6, and #7 containers contain high BPA levels and thus should not be microwaved.
Plastics (including type 5) should be reheated under medium or low heat for short periods.
Which are the possible health effects of microwaving food in plastic containers?
Toxins released from heating microwave-unsafe plastics can cause the following adverse health complications:
Microwave unsafe plastics melt when heated and release toxic smoke.
Toxins from melted plastic can cause breathing complications( asthma) and skin rashes.
Most plastics contain dangerous levels of BPA, a cancer-causing chemical compound.
BPA has proven to be a leading cause of prostate and breast cancers.
- Gastro-intestinal complications
Leached chemical toxins contaminate your food and lead to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
- Neurological Disorders
Toxins from plastics are known to cause dizziness, headaches, and confusion( memory loss).
- Hormonal imbalance.
Chemical toxins from plastics, like BPA, disrupt the endocrine hormone ( a reproductive hormone).
Compromised endocrine hormone results in infertility, thyroid disorders, and premature puberty.
There are various plastics available in the market with unique recycling codes.
#5 is the recycling code for type 5 plastics. Type 5 plastics are heat resistant and BPA- free, ideal for microwave use.
you can microwave #, but safety precautions must be observed for best results.