If you provide heat-and-eat meals for your customers, you probably need microwaveable food packaging to serve them in. Whether it’s a handy dinner or easy lunch at the office, the extra convenience of a microwaveable container is something most customers look for. This stops them needing to transfer food from one vessel to another or create more dishes.
You already know that some materials (including certain plastics) are safe in the microwave and others aren’t. While some experts say no plastic containers should ever be used in the microwave due to “leaching”, the majority agree that plastics labelled “microwave safe” are, well… Microwave safe. Of course, those plastics that are not safe can melt and allow BPA (and other additives) to transfer into foods.
Glass or ceramic heatproof dishes are optimum for the microwave, but they just aren’t practical — or affordable — for those effortless on-the-go meals. So then, what kind of packaging should your business serve your dishes in?
You definitely don’t want these.
Stay away from containers with aluminum, cold-storage plastic containers (such as those used for margarine or yogurt), and single-use plastic containers. Dishes with a metallic trim are also a no-go, as are brown paper bags and anything that’s foam-insulated. While some have a leaching issue, others are fire hazards or will simply compromise the operation of the microwave.
Some takeaway containers are made from the above materials, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe for the microwave! If in doubt, check for a microwave-safe symbol on the container somewhere (usually on the bottom).
What makes a container microwave-safe?
To be microwave-safe, a product should have a temperature tolerance of at least 120 degrees Celsius. The material must be intended for use in the microwave. In Australia, these materials include packaging made from glass, ceramics, as well as specific types of plastic and paper-based materials.
Are microwave-safe containers sustainable?
They certainly can be. Of course, if cared for properly, glass and ceramic containers can be used for generations. However, as we stated before, these are not economical for business use where heat-and-eat meals are concerned. Tupperware containers are also environmentally-friendly because they’re multi-use. Another example is Profile Packaging’s range of microwave-friendly containers, which are fully compostable. Your customers are able to dispose of them responsibly through composting, even if the container is only used on time.