Chemicals in Food Grade Plastic

Yogurt containers have a symbol on the bottom which labels their plastic grade.

Darrius H.

Yogurt containers have a symbol on the bottom which labels their plastic grade.

The Earth is overwhelmed with plastic. It is in oceans, soil, and even food. When people eat or drink out of plastic cups, containers, straws, and plates, they are consuming plastic. This is because small particles of plastic can come off and into food. Researchers studied everything from yogurt cups to bath sponges. The result was that toxic chemicals were found in 75% of the products. Is this a sign of danger, or is it a wake-up call? 

People should never heat plastic food containers in a microwave. Every time a microwave is used to reheat food inside a plastic to-go container, the plastic can melt into the food. When animals eat plastic, it can kill them. Humans, on the other hand, won’t die from small pieces of plastic. However, consuming too much plastic can result in cancer or asthma. Instead of using plastic containers, other alternatives are glass, stainless steel, porcelain, and paper containers. 

Many plastics have the recycle symbol on them with a number in the center. They are labeled 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and PA. The safest of these, for food, are 1, 2, 4, and 5. The least safe are 3, 6, 7, 9, and PA. Items labeled 3 are not only the most common plastic but they are also very toxic. Some examples of this type of plastic are styrofoam, water bottles, and salad dressing containers. 

Most paper coffee cups are actually coated in plastic to keep the paper from going into the coffee. It seems like a good idea, right? Sadly this is not a solution. Instead of paper, plastic will leak into the coffee. This is caused by the hot steam of the drink. Although this might not be true for all paper coffee cups, it is still a concern.

Some ways people can reduce the use of plastic is to use metal straws, paper plates, glass or metal cups, reusable silverware, or paper bags instead of plastic. Metal straws, glass, and metal cups are reusable, so people don’t have to spend more money on plastic straws. Paper bags are better than plastic bags, however, reusable plastic bags will be a solid choice too. 

Many plastics pose a danger for people, so using alternatives to plastic won’t only benefit the planet.