Plastic – When to use

Last night’s dinner. You made too much, so you wrap up the rest for tomorrow. The pizza went in a zip-top plastic bag, the rest of the salad in a plastic container and the remaining cooked veggies stayed in the bowl and got covered by plastic wrap. Into the fridge and see ya tomorrow.

Well, now it’s tomorrow and time to heat it up for lunch. Do you throw the pizza into the microwave in the baggie? What about the veggies? You’ve been told that covering them before nuking them will heat them faster by trapping the steam. HOLD IT RIGHT THERE!

DO NOT HEAT PLASTIC IN THE MICROWAVE! Microwaving can drive plastic molecules into your food. Use only glass or ceramic containers and cover foods with waxed paper or a paper towel.

Plastic products can not only harm us, but our planet. We’ve all heard a lot about BPA in bottles and cans, so now we’re shopping for BPA-free products. Ditch the conventional water bottles and buys a stainless steel one (fashionably cute colors available!). 

Plastics are made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. The manufacturing of plastic can pollute the environment with toxic chemicals, and because some of the chemicals in some of them can leach into food and water, they are probable heath hazards. It’s not easy avoiding all plastic, be aware that PVC vinyl (#3) may be the biggest threat. It may contain lead and phthalates and is often not recyclable. Polycarbonates (PC, often labeled #7, which is an “other” category for plastics, and not necessarily indicative of a problem material) made with BPA should also be avoided – be especially wary of water and baby bottles made from polycarbonate.

So what should you do? Buy BPA-free bottles, wrap your food in aluminum and glass containers, and reheat food in the microwave only in microwave-safe ceramic or glass containers and covered by a paper towel or wax paper. Keep the plastic out of the microwave! You could always reheat that leftover pizza in the toaster and get a crispy crust!

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