We are all guilty of having an inexplicable affinity to food plastic containers. We buy them either for our daily use or acquire them via takeout. Plastic food containers are especially common because of their mass production and distribution. Chinese restaurants are also abundant in most parts of the world therefore making plastic Chinese food containers popular. However, with an increase in Environmental awareness, plastic items are facing possible extinction. Here is everything you need to know about Chinese food containers and whether you should use them.
Most restaurants follow restrictions by law to only use items that are sanitary and safe for consumer use. Therefore, plastic Chinese food containers acquired through food takeout are safe to use. If you are buying the containers directly from the market, always check the bottom of the container for the numbers preceded by a hashtag. For example, #1 plastics occur as water bottles and sodas. They are recyclable but not for too long thanks to toxin migrations. #2 and #4 are best for recycling and #7 are not advisable for food storage.
Recycling And Reusing
Chinese food containers are recyclable. There is no set amount of time on how long you can use plastic containers. It all depends with how you handle them. Regular cleaning will prevent staining and discolouring. You can also reuse the containers for other uses by repurposing them.
Depending on the amount of polypropylene, plastics vary in microwave usability. Some plastic Chinese food containers are very light and can handle only singular microwaving. Multiple microwave incidents may lead to the containers melting into the food. This can cause harm to the consumer. To know for sure whether your plastic Chinese food container is built for microwave use, check for three wave lines usually at the bottom. These lines are a confirmation of the container’s ability to handle microwave heat.
What Foods to Put in Plastic Containers
Plastic Chinese food containers are especially good for storing dry foods such as cereals and snacks. You can also use the plastic containers for refrigeration of already boiled or cooked foods for preparations. However, avoid covering cooked food for too long in plastic containers if not in refrigeration.
Where Can You Buy Plastic Food Containers
When it comes to plastic food containers, there are so many choices. You can find the containers in different shapes, sizes, colours and prices. Your personal preferences should guide you on what to get. You can buy them in physical supermarkets or on online markets. Some online stores with plastic Chinese food containers include Alibaba, Amazon.
What To Look For When Buying Plastic Food Containers
Like any other item in your shopping list, plastic food containers require much consideration before purchase. You do not want to buy something only to end up throwing it away the next day. As already mentioned, there is an increase in plastic bans across the world. It is advisable then to buy Chinese food containers that will give you great service before their time of disposal. Below is a list of things to consider when buying food containers:
The purpose of the food container should determine the type of container you get. For example, if you need one for refrigeration, you should consider the shape and size of both your fridge and the container.
The size of your plastic Chinese food container depends hugely on its intended purpose. A food container used for carrying office snacks is not similar in size with one used for storing cooking flour.
The shape of the plastic Chinese food container also depends on its purpose. For example, if you want a container to store your pasta, a long cylindrical one would work best. However, for refrigeration or shelf storage, short but deep food containers are best because they allow for stacking.
Although plastic Chinese food containers are not usually expensive, the price should fit within your budget. You can always compare market prices before settling on a particular food container.
One of the most dangerous content in plastic containers is bisphenol A otherwise called BPA. It is mostly dangerous because of its ability to leach into food and water. You should always go for BPA-free plastic Chinese containers to be safe. Avoid containers with the number 7 as it means they contain BPA.
Before physically purchasing plastic Chinese containers, check for the recycling triangle at the bottom. You will be reducing the amount of plastic waste in that when you finally dispose the container, it will definitely get recycled into something else.
You can tell the quality of the plastic by touching the material. Soft and light plastics are prone to faster damage compared to tough ones. Test the bending ability of the plastic to know if it will hold for long. Be careful and gentle to avoid incurring pre-purchase losses.
Although this is not a must-rule, transparent plastic food containers are better than coloured ones. For starters, they are easier to clean. You will also have an easier time identifying the contents without having to mark the containers.
Wash And Care for Plastic Food Containers
Plastic food containers require a high level of hygiene. After all, food is one of the most sensitive items in the world. Keeping your plastic Chinese food containers clean is not only healthy it also increases their durability.
Make sure you carefully clean all corners and crevices of the containers to remove any hidden particles that can cause bad smells and food spoilage. To remove strong smells, consider using vinegar and baking soda to clean the Chinese food containers. Soak the containers in vinegar and baking mixture for about 30 minutes. Rinse with warm then cold water for best results.
If the containers stain, consider cleaning with bleaching chlorine. However, note that continuous use of chlorine may be harmful to your health especially if not properly rinsed out before storing food.
Some plastic Chinese food containers are dishwasher safe. Always keep them on the top rack where there is maximum hot water reception.
To reduce damage on your plastic containers, avoid tightly stacking them especially when wet. Do not press the lids too tightly onto the container as they may break from the pressure. Finally, when packed, stack them with the heaviest container below no matter the size.
Advantages of Plastic Food Containers
Plastic food containers are very popular because of their versatility. Here are some benefits of using plastic Chinese food containers
- Less fragility
- Multiple uses
- Cost effectiveness