With tons of warnings about how we should not use plastics in the microwave and many brands claiming their products are safe to be used in the microwave, people need clarification.
What is the truth? Can you microwave plastic tupperware?
The simplest way to determine whether or not the plastic container is microwave-safe is to look for a label that says ‘Microwave Safe.’ This is a stamp of approval issued by the FDA. Tupperware that has this label is safe to heat in the microwave.
Read on to learn about different plastics used in tupperware, whether it’s safe to put plastic tupperware in the microwave, and tips to increase the safety of reheating your food.
What are the different types of plastic used in tupperware?
To understand whether plastic tupperware is safe in the microwave, it’s essential to understand the different plastics used in them.
Plastic is synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that are lightweight, flexible, and durable.
Due to their favorable properties, plastic is commonly used in many items nowadays.
Plastic comes in many different shapes and sizes with varying chemical make-ups. Here are just a few common ones:
- Polyethylene terephthalate – These are commonly used to store peanut butter, soda drink bottles, cooking oil containers, and mayonnaise jars.
- Polyvinyl chloride – this compound is commonly used in electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, medical tubing, shower curtains, etc.
- Low-density polyethylene – These types of plastics are used in squeeze bottles, plastic bags, and food packaging.
- High-density polyethylene – These are used for butter containers, milk jugs, protein powder tubs, hand soap, and detergent containers.
- Polystyrene or Styrofoam – These are used in packing materials as well as disposable cups.
- Polypropylene – These plastics are used in yogurt containers, bottle caps, single-serve coffee capsules, food storage containers, shaker bottles, and baby bottles.
Can you microwave plastic tupperware?
Tupperware was founded in 1946 by Earl Tupper, although it didn’t have its hay day until the 50s and 60s.
One of the defining factors of Tupperware is that their food containers are made of plastic. Aside from environmental concerns, it also raises safety concerns for individuals who want to reheat their food in the microwave.
So, can you microwave plastic Tupperware?
Yes, Tupperware can be safely reheated in the microwave. Tupperware produces microwave-safe plastic products but you should still be cautious not to heat your food at too high of a heat or for too long.
The easiest way to discern whether or not plastic tupperware is safe to put in the microwave is by searching for the “Microwave-Safe” sticker.
The brand Tupperware produces products with this sticker, although generic and non-name brand plastic containers are not guaranteed to have this safety certification.
Inspect your plastic tupperware for the microwave-safe sticker. If you find it, you’re good to go.
If your tupperware doesn’t have the sticker, it’s better to avoid microwaving your plastic tupperware.
How long can you microwave plastic tupperware?
Even with tupperware that is microwave-safe, microwaving the container for too long can produce the adverse effects of heating plastic that we are trying to avoid.
How long is too long to microwave plastic tupperware, even if it’s FDA-approved?
Keep heating to 3 minutes or less when using plastic tupperware to reheat your food. Anything past that, and you risk harming yourself with adverse health outcomes.
In a nutshell, heating plastics has been shown to produce various adverse effects for humans. To name a few, we are looking at severe cardiovascular issues, respiratory diseases, and even infertility issues for both men and women.
The best practice would be to avoid heating your food in microwave containers; even if they are FDA-approved, heating in glass containers eliminates the risks of plastic.
If you don’t have any other options, keep it to 3 minutes or less. This reduces the risk of releasing BPAs, the harmful toxin associated with the abovementioned health issues.
Are all tupperware products microwave safe?
Tupperware offers many different products for food storage. You might wonder if one product is safer than another regarding reheating food in the microwave.
Are all Tupperware products microwave-safe?
All name-brand Tupperware products are FDA-approved with the microwave-safe label. However, generic and non-name-brand plastic containers are not all approved.
When buying plastic containers, look for the microwave-safety approval given by the FDA.
While all food storage containers are designed to be used in the microwave, they’re not necessarily designed to be safely used in the microwave.
Specific containers have harmful plastic compounds, therefore breaking the guidelines set by the FDA.
Stick to Tupperware-brand plastic containers as well as any other food container with microwave-safe labeling to be safe.
Can you microwave ziploc tupperware containers?
It has become common for individuals to pop the Ziploc containers into the microwave and heat their meals. But have you wondered whether or not your convenient ziplock bag is safe to use?
Yes, you can microwave Ziploc Tupperware containers. Ziploc containers are dioxin-free, BPA-free, and microwave-safe certified.
Ziploc’s tupperware containers are formulated from polypropylene, a plastic with a high melting point of 320°F. Subsequently, they can be safely microwaved.
Another great feature of the Ziploc containers is that they are 100% recyclable.
Using Ziploc Tupperware ensures your safety while doing a good deed for the environment. Win-win!
Is it safe to microwave BPA-free plastic?
BPA, the acronym for bisphenol A, is a harmful industrial chemical associated with adverse health effects on adults, children, and even fetuses.
Unfortunately, many plastic tupperware containers are made with BPAs. When heating these plastic containers, you risk having BPAs released into your food, leading to long-term damage.
But what about plastic containers that are BPA-free? Is it safe to microwave them?
Yes, as long as the plastic tupperware has the microwave-safe marking. The absence of BPAs in a plastic container doesn’t necessarily guarantee your safety; there are plenty of other harmful chemicals to be aware of.
Using BPA-free plastic containers is a step in the right direction. Notice it’s only a step and not crossing the finish line.
BPA is only one of many potentially carcinogenic or cancer-causing compounds found in your plastic containers.
As we’ve specified repeatedly, look for the microwave-safe marking. A BPA-free microwave-safe container is okay to microwave; follow best practices like not microwaving your food for too long.
What plastic is safe to microwave?
Some people, like me, are more inquisitive. You might want to know why some plastics are microwave-safe when others are not.
You are probably also curious about what specific plastics are safe to microwave.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) are the leading microwave-safe plastics. These two plastics have been declared microwave-safe because they have high heat tolerance, ensuring that no dangerous compounds will be released during heating.
The primary issue with microwaving plastic is that harmful compounds are broken down and released into food.
For example, BPAs and dioxins are highly toxic, with links to diabetes, increased obesity rates, and infertility.
PET and PP are heat resistant with high melting points, making them ideal for the microwave.
Many companies are making PET and PP plastic containers without BPAs and dioxins. This is the best of both worlds because the tupperware is heat resistant and absent the acknowledged dangerous compounds.
How to reduce phthalates and BPA exposure from plastic?
I understand that reading this article might have been scary and shocking!
However, I have good news and actionable advice for you to reduce your phthalates and BPA exposure to preserve your health.
The ideal way to reduce exposure to phthalates and BPAs is to swap your tupperware containers for glass food storage containers. If this isn’t possible, find companies like Tupperware and Ziploc that make BPA-free, microwave-safe plastic food storage containers.
The best way to reduce exposure to plastic is to quit using plastic. Who would have thought?
In all seriousness, glass containers are much safer even when compared to plastic containers with the microwave-safety label. They eliminate the risk that plastic introduces when you heat it.
The next best alternative is to use BPA-free plastic containers. Many containers will have BPA-free markings or a marking on the bottom indicating the container is made from PP. Either is okay!
Lastly, avoid storing highly acidic foods and liquids in plastic containers. The acidity of your food breaks down plastic on a microscopic level, potentially leading to food contamination.
6 tips for microwaving food in plastic Tupperware
If you can’t switch over to glass food containers just yet, fear not!
As long as you take the proper precautions and add a few handy tricks to your tool belt, you can reheat your food in the microwave without worrying.
Here are six tips for microwaving your food in plastic tupperware:
- Check for microwave safety label – first and foremost, before anything else, ensure your tupperware is microwave-safe. If it isn’t, you can do nothing to remedy that.
- Don’t use old tupperware with visible scratches – old tupperware with scuffs and scratches are susceptible to releasing harmful compounds when microwaved. Luckily, tupperware is relatively affordable; consider buying new containers if your old ones show some wear.
- Microwave for short periods – anything longer than 3 minutes exponentially increases the chance of releasing harmful compounds. Aim to keep your microwaving time to a minimum.
- Vent the tupperware lid – many foods must be covered when microwaved to prevent a colossal mess. While we acknowledge that importance, leaving the lid on your food only traps the chemicals inside the container and onto your food. Take the lid off and slightly offset it on top of the container to ensure good airflow while reheating.
- Stir your food while reheating – consider heating your food in small increments, removing the container from the microwave to stir the food in between increments. This helps to distribute the heat and avoid any hot pockets of food stressing the plastic.
- Be conscious of reheating fatty foods – foods high in fat and oil can handle heat at a high capacity. Keep this in mind as they may be extremely hot to the point of releasing harmful chemicals from the plastic.
How do I know if my Tupperware plastic is microwave safe?
You can check if your tupperware is microwave-safe by looking for a microwave-safe marking on the bottom of the container.
What plastic is microwave safe?
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and Polypropylene (PP) are microwave-safe plastics as a result of their high heat resistance capabilities.
What is the microwave safe symbol on Tupperware?
There are many different signs but most involve a small depiction of a microwave with squiggly lines.
How do you reheat food in Tupperware?
When reheating food in Tupperware, be sure to heat your food no more than 3 minutes. Another great tip is to slightly offset the lid on your Tupperware container to allow for air flow without splattering food all over the microwave.