Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recycled Plastics: Can They be Used in Food Grade Plastic Containers?

The green movement suggests us to reuse plastic containers as much as possible within the containers' life. It makes pretty much sense for most items that are typically contained in the containers. But more precautions are prescribed for more health sensitive items like foods and pharmaceutical goods. The following is the list of things you need to know about containers and safety regarding them.
  • Plastic can be recycled, though the process of recycling often stops after the first recycle (or a few more recycles). It depends on the type of plastic being recycled and made into what. You can find a bottle of mineral water you drink ends up in a recycling company and comes out new in the form of a child's chair. Some of these recycled plastic stuffs are made into plastic containers, some of which are good for non-food stored items; while some others are dedicated especially for food (typically called food grade containers).
  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ideally food grade containers are made from fresh plastic elements. But there is a possibility where food grade containers are actually made from recycled plastic. FDA writes that such recycled plastic should undergo a few examinations, in where complete descriptions regarding the recycling process are to be submitted to them. Some tests are also performed to confirm that any possible contaminants have been removed from the recycled plastic. All these will determine the end product of food grade plastic containers should be fit for what type of foods to be stored, how long the foods can be stored and what temperature they work best. Read more here.

In short, it is useful to see and learn what your containers are made from. If you are storing any other goods but foods and medications, using containers made of recycled plastic would be ideal as you will be contributing in sustaining the environment. But if you intend to use the containers in contact with food, make sure they are food grade and approved by FDA. At least even if they were made of recycled plastic, you can be rest assured that it won't endanger your health.

To know if a container is food grade or not, check this plastic containers shopping guide.

To shop for plastic containers, click here

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