The three major types of plastics found in home and kitchen appliances are thermoplastics, such as Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), which have replaced aluminum, zinc, ceramics, and glass for electrical devices such as food blenders.
These plastic types are used because they provide better cleanliness and easier and less expensive maintenance.
In this article, you will learn in detail about the kind of plastic and its usage in kitchen appliances.
Kinds Of Plastic Used In Kitchen Appliances
PETE or PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate. The vast majority of disposable beverage and food containers and bottles are made of plastic materials, which are usually clear in color.
PET can also be found in the containers of household cleaning products. This plastic is relatively safe but must be kept from heat or carcinogens (such as flame retardant antimony trioxide) that may leach into your liquids.
Furthermore, because of the porous nature of its surface, bacteria, and flavor can accumulate, so avoid reusing these bottles as makeshift containers. Most curbside recycling programs collect this plastic.
HDPE stands for high-density polyethylene. HDPE is used to make the majority of milk jugs, detergent and juice bottles, butter tubs, and toiletries containers. This plastic, which is usually opaque in color, is considered safe and has a low risk of leaching. Most recycling programs collect it.
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. It is used to make food wrap, cooking oil bottles, shower curtains, inflatable mattresses, and standard plumbing pipes. PVC, despite its strength, is not considered safe for cooking or heating.
PVC contains phthalates, which are softening chemicals that interfere with hormonal development. Never use food wrap when cooking, especially in a microwave oven. Inflatables, baby toys, and other items should have PVC-free labels (and phthalates and BPA). Recycling programs rarely accept this type of plastic.
Polypropylene is the material in question (PP). It is commonly used to make yogurt cups, medicine and ketchup bottles, kitchenware, and “microwave-safe” plastic containers.
It is microwave-safe because it is heat resistant and thus does not warp in the microwave. This does not imply that eating foods that have been microwaved in them is healthy! Microwave in glass containers whenever possible (there are variations in microwavable glass types as well).
PP is considered a safe plastic as long as it is not microwaved. Most curbside recycling programs now accept it.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is the material used to make the majority of disposable containers and food ware. Packing peanuts are also very common in packaging. There is overwhelming evidence that this type of plastic leaches potentially toxic chemicals, particularly when heated.
It is best to avoid using plastic products as much as possible. It is difficult to recycle and is only accepted by a few facilities. Worse, decomposing takes hundreds of years if it is not recycled!
Can You Put Plastic in an Oven?
Plastic should never be put into a hot oven. Plastic items begin to soften at very low temperatures, and at slightly higher temperatures, they melt and emit fumes.
When heated, the plastic begins to leech chemicals long before it melts, and once melted, it is extremely difficult to clean and could potentially catch fire.
A type of plastic known as CPET (short for Crystallized Polyethylene Terephthalate) has been crystallized to increase its heat resistance. It is estimated that CPET can withstand temperatures ranging from 32 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit without melting.
This does not imply that CPET is completely safe to use in an oven; it can withstand temperatures higher than regular plastic.
If the oven temperature exceeds 400 degrees, the plastic may begin to melt and leach into your food, potentially causing illness. When using oven-able CPET containers, keep track of the temperature to ensure it does not exceed the 400-degree Fahrenheit limit.
Is Cooking with Plastic Safe?
High-density polyethylene, low-density polyethylene, and PP are the safest plastics to use with food. These plastics are used in almost all sous vide bags and most brand-name food storage bags and plastic wraps.
Polyethylene is widely used in biology and chemistry lab containers and has received extensive research. It is risk-free.
However, bulk plastic wraps sold to the catering industry are not as safe. These items are typically made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can contain harmful plasticizers that have been shown to leach into fatty foods like cheese, meat, and fish. There are legitimate concerns about food exposed to these plastics at high temperatures.
Polyethylene-based plastic wraps are slightly more expensive and do not raise such concerns. Check that your cling wrap or plastic bread bags are microwave-safe for an easy way to tell the difference. Low-density polyethylene bags and wraps are generally microwave-safe, whereas those containing polyvinyl chloride plastics are not.
For What Purpose Can You Use Plastic?
Plastics can be used in the kitchen for a variety of purposes. Some plastic products are considered safe and have been approved for use in food contact applications.
Here are some popular applications for FDA-approved plastics in the kitchen.
Not all plastics are completely safe, recyclable, or suitable for food storage. They could contain chemicals that are harmful to consumers.
As a result, before you pack your food in a plastic container, ensure you understand the type of plastic you’re using.
Basically, when exposed to sunlight and UV radiation, the plastic container you use should not emit any chemicals.
You should also put vegetables in a cloth bag before storing them in the fridge.
If you’re concerned that using a cloth bag will make your greens slimy and soggy, ensure you’re using the right cloth bag.
Plastic products are necessary for cooking. Without these tools, mixing ingredients, cutting vegetables, combining different spices, and so on is difficult.
You can find disposable plates, picnic plates, spoons, forks, and other household appliances in a variety of new materials, so you don’t have to buy plastic kitchenware.
These kitchen tools, for example, are available in wood, ceramic, or metal.
Food wrap is another way to incorporate plastic into your kitchen.
Food plastic wrap is a thin cling film used to seal and secure food items to keep them fresh and clean.
These plastic wraps can also be used to cover containers with no lids. They can also be used to package raw fruits and vegetables as well as other uncooked foods.
You can keep your food warm by wrapping it in plastic wrap. However, experts advise poking holes in it to allow for steam ventilation.
The single-skin PS cups can get too hot to hold, but expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) cups don’t have this problem as they are better thermal insulators.
Plastic wraps are easy to store. In fact, they aid in the preservation of food in the freezer. It prevents air from entering the food and keeps it fresh.
Kitchen Utensil Materials: How to Choose the Best One?
There are numerous materials to choose from when purchasing cookware utensils at the market. It becomes impossible to determine which material utensils will produce the best results while remaining safe to use. Last but not least, durability and cost are important considerations.
Nylon is a man-made material. Because it is a poor heat conductor, it is commonly used to make stirring spoons, spatulas, and so on.
Silicone is a chemical compound composed of quartz sand, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and possibly other elements. All of these elements are safe. Silicone products, according to the FDA, are safe to use. Silicone is widely used in the manufacture of mats, spatulas, spoons, whisks, and so on.
Steel is an iron and carbon alloy that can be made stainlessly by adding 10.5% chromium. The chromium content of food-grade stainless steel must be 16%. Nickel is sometimes added to stainless steel to improve its properties. To increase conductivity, stainless steel cooking materials are mixed with other metals such as aluminum and copper.
Kitchen utensils made of wood have been used for thousands of years. Wood is primarily used to make stirring and serving utensils such as spatulas, spoons, plates, and dishes, among other things.
Glass utensils are becoming increasingly popular due to their attractive appearance, which can easily fit into any kitchen. Glass is commonly used to make pans, plates, cups, dishes, and a variety of other items.
Aluminum kitchen utensils are also widely used. Cooking utensils made of untreated aluminum are not safe to use. On the other hand, aluminum utensils clad with stainless steel, nonstick coated or anodized, are safer. If you don’t want heavy metals leaching into your food, avoid using aluminum utensils on a daily basis.
How Plastic Kitchen Appliances Have Made Our Lives Easier?
Plastics continue to provide incredible benefits in a variety of industries, including medical, automotive, military, construction, electronics, and various electrical appliances.
They lower manufacturing costs and contribute to the large-scale production of items. This is also true for household items in our kitchen. Plastics are widely used in household products ranging from juicers to containers, refrigerators, measuring cups, and cutlery due to their numerous advantages.
Plastics are Used to Build Refrigerators
Over 40% of our refrigerator is made of various plastics, including polystyrene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyurethane foam, and ABS. Insulation, durability, robustness, and flexibility are all excellent properties of plastics.
The interiors of refrigerators are made by polypropylene and ABS manufacturers. Polycarbonate is used to make the exterior parts, such as the door, handle, and panels.
Polyurethane foam is used as insulation. The best thing about these plastics is that they can be recycled once their useful life has passed.
Interior parts, for example, can be recycled to make car parts, and insulation foams can be recycled to make fuel.
Plastics Aid in the Storage of Food
Everyone uses plastic containers and lunch boxes, which can be found in homes, offices, and schools. Because they are made of ABS or polyethylene, these boxes are incredibly durable. They are also microwave and dishwasher-safe.
Plastic containers have surpassed glass alternatives in the last decade. People prefer them because glass is slick and can shatter when struck. Glass containers can be hazardous to one’s safety and health. Furthermore, plastic containers can absorb the odor of strong flavors and keep food fresh.
What Are the Advantages of Plastic Cutlery?
Let’s start with some of the reasons you might want to use plastic cutlery in the first place. Here are our top reasons to use reusable plastic cutlery.
It Is Lightweight
Plastic cutlery is exceptionally lightweight, which we believe is one of its most significant advantages.
When you’re on the road, the last thing you want to do is carry heavy metal cutlery, especially if you also carry a food container. Plastic cutlery, on the other hand, is much lighter and will be virtually invisible in your bag.
Of course, no one wants to use flimsy utensils that bend or crack easily. Fortunately, manufacturers of high-end knives apply a special coating to the top, making them feel super sturdy without the extra weight of metal.
It Is More Convenient
When you think about it, high-quality plastic disposable cutlery has far more applications than regular silverware. For example, you can use them for dining at home and throwing parties like regular silverware. However, there are times when only disposable plastic cutlery will suffice, making them far more versatile.
And, while we’re all for reusing your plastic cutlery, it’s not always possible. While you may not feel good about throwing away a metal utensil, you can do so without hesitation with a disposable option.
It Is Safer
If you’ve ever been around children, you’ll know that any ordinary household item can be transformed into a prop to fuel their imaginative play.
Naturally, you’d be concerned about metal knives and forks that will undoubtedly be transformed into swords and pitchforks. As a result, metal cutlery may cause concern among some parents.
However, plastic cutlery is a relatively safe option that will prevent someone from accidentally poking their eye out. Even though it is strong, a plastic utensil will not injure anyone. This is most likely why they are permitted through airport security—yet another advantage of purchasing some plastic cutlery for yourself.
What plastic are kitchen appliances made of?
Polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), and acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), the three major types of plastic components found in home appliances, can be separated to high purity and recovered in large quantities.
How can you tell if plastic is polyethylene or polypropylene?
Polyethylene (PE) – has a candlewax odor, while (PP) – primarily smells like dirty engine oil with undertones of candlewax.
What is the most common plastic in the kitchen?
Because of its semi-rigid or rigid structure, polyethylene terephthalate is a lightweight plastic that is commonly used for food, condiment, and beverage packaging.
How can you tell if plastic is polypropylene?
The color of the flame, scent, and burning characteristics can all indicate the plastics: Polypropylene (PP) – Drips and smells mostly of dirty engine oil with candlewax undertones.
What are some polyethylene plastic examples?
High-Density Polyethylene is strong and chemically resistant, making it ideal for cartons, containers, pipes, and other building materials. Some examples are milk cartons, detergent bottles, cereal box liners, toys, buckets, park benches, and rigid pipes.
Is melamine a thermoset?
Melamine is a plastic that hardens when exposed to high temperatures. Thermosetting plastics are man-made materials that, once molded, cannot be softened by heating. Melamine thermoset work surfaces give appealing; hard-wearing work surfaces impervious to high temperatures and water.
Plastic is a widely used material in the manufacture of many kitchen products. Even though plastic kitchenware is lightweight and inexpensive, it can have several negative consequences.
However, kitchen appliances and utensils made of high-quality plastic products such as PC, HDPE, and LDPE can be safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly!