One thing that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic and the CMCO or whatever lockdown is the surge in the use of plastic containers as a lot of people would order cooked food to be delivered to their homes. Even though I, for one, have not done anything of the sort since it all began, I did not know that those are supposed to be for single-use and should not be used to contain food more than once.
I went and googled to read up about this and I found this one that says that takeaway plastic food containers used at eating establishments, including hawker centres, are meant for single use and such containers should not be used repeatedly. They are safe for their immediate intended purpose, but not beyond what they are designed for. Oh dear! We have been reusing those containers all this while!
Ever since the ban in Sibu on the use of polystyrene containers which we would simply throw away after eating the food inside, the general public has been encouraged to use these disposable cardboard boxes…
…instead. For one thing, they complain that they are very expensive, more expensive than the plastic ones, and sometimes, they transfer the cost to the buyers so if you want to tapao something, you will have to pay extra…
…and that can be as much as 30-50 sen!
Other than that, those boxes are rather flimsy and not durable especially when used to contain something hot. The steam will make it soggy and it will tear very easily.
The article also goes on to say that for repeated storage of food, consumers should opt only for reusable plastic food containers that have been specifically designed for repeated use. I’m afraid that is not very clear. Does that refer to containers like Tupperware that cost an arm or a leg? What about those cheap plastic containers that they sell at the shops like the Mr DIY or 100% Discount or Supersave stores?
In another article that I found, it says that chemicals lurking in some containers — especially those that aren’t designed for reuse — could leach out of the plastic and into your food if you heat them in the microwave, toss them in the dishwasher, or leave them in the sun for a long period of time. Well, I don’t have a microwave nor a dishwasher but maybe, this is the reason why people have been told not to keep their plastic bottles of mineral or drinking water in their cars.
That article also went on to say this: But before you toss your tub away, check the bottom for the recycling code, a number that can help you identify what type of plastic your container is made from. If you see #2, #4, or #5, then you’re most likely in the clear for chemicals, which means you can safely reuse your container, whether you bought it at the supermarket or brought it home from a restaurant.
I went and checked all the plastic containers that we have in the house such as this rectangular one…
…or this one…
…that they claim (at the bottom) is made from recyclable plastic and all the round ones…
…including those from the fast food franchises that they use for their whipped/mashed potatoes or their coleslaw and all of them had this…
…at the bottom. As you can see, in the recycle icon, there is the No. 5! I guess that means they are all o.k.
Still, whatever it is, we should put in a concerted effort to cut down on the use of plastic. Some of you may recall that I did mention in some earlier posts that I keep my stainless steel tiffin carrier in the boot of my car so everytime when I need to buy something home, I would just take it out and use…and yes, I do keep those big recycled carrier bags too for when I go shopping at the supermarkets and I did buy a whole lot of these glass containers…
…on offer, selling for less than half price. I can use them to store food in the fridge or in the freezer. Other than doing our bit for our environment, however small, it is good to play it safe…and avoid using all those plastic containers as far as we can.
5 thoughts on “Play it safe…”
I know it is not advisable to use the takeaway plastic food containers meant for single use repeatedly but sometimes those containers are too good to be thrown away. Most people (if not all) would keep and reuse as they are light and convenient to handle unlike the glasses type which are heavy and bulky to carry around. Now I have started to uses glass type of containers too.
Most importantly, never put anything hot in those containers (unlike when you buy food outside). Wait till it has cooled first.
I see that you have those glass containers too. Very worth it to buy during sales promotion as they are quite pricey.
Yes, I thought I could use them for serving food, small servings but they are rather small.
Ya, better to use glass or stainless steel containers. But I would prefer steel containers as they are lighter, glass containers are heavy.
Glass may break too!
In here we started to use a lot of paper containers as well as paper straws, nice to see this is happening too in different parts of the world. Its all good for the environment
Yes, we have paper straws too. Some, they do not give you a straw at all. Good too, can manage without it.
That’s a very good reminder. I try to reduce single-use anything when I can but do reuse any plastic that I have a lot because I don’t want it to go to a landfill.
Same here, not unless is is broken or spoilt in some way…or I can’t find a lid that fits.