Q: We often keep food and beverages in different plastic containers. Taking the leftovers from the restaurant with us, as well as buying ready-to-cook food in a supermarket means having to store it somewhere. Also, we use HDPE containers for cereals, fruits, and vegetables. In the 21st century, people do not often think whether it’s HDPE or LDPE or whatever and don’t ask themselves whether it’s microwaveable or not. The technologies go far ahead, and everything seems to be microwaveable nowadays. What about the HDPE containers?
Can You Microwave Food in an HDPE Container?
HDPE containers are made of high-density materials.
They can resist low and high temperatures.
The coolest is -25 degrees Celsius, and the hottest is +80 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, we need to know the features of a particular microwave oven.
Then we will be able to decide whether we are allowed to put the HDPE container inside the device, close the glass door, and microwave a dish.
By the way, this is very good is your microwave oven allows you to set the temperature manually.
How Do I Know the Temperature in the Microwave?
Let us highlight briefly the temperature modes of the microwave oven:
- To boil water, prepare juices, and other beverages, use high power or 100 degrees Celsius
- To cook chicken, and remove ice from the product surface set the oven at 70 degrees
- Baking meat, fish, and cooking soups is possible at 50 degrees
- Keeping food warm till it’s time to eat – 15-20 degrees
As you understand, the HDPE containers can be put in the microwave oven but only for a few minutes.
What Is HDPE?
HDPE is a high-density polyethylene.
This is one of the most commonly used plastics for the storage of food, water, juices, medicals, and other products.
The HDPE marking can be found in the bottom of plastic containers like vitamin boxes, milk bags, cups etc.
The containers for dairy products like cottage cheese or sour cream, which you consume daily, are also marked as HDPE.
You can use HDPE plastic boxes to freeze food, and also defrost it.
What is more, the bottles made of HDPE are used to store motor liquids or flower fertilizers.
The HDPE containers can be big and small, oval, round, square, bottle-shaped, or tube-shaped.
The usage of this type of high-density plastic has increased greatly in the last decades.
Is High-Density Polyethylene Dangerous?
The HDPE containers are being tested to guarantee you the highest quality.
While some plastics are not only microwave-unsafe but also dangerous due to their low quality, the HDPE plastic boxes and bottles are known to be relevantly safe.
Good news is they are also recyclable.
What Are Some Other HDPE Products?
Besides production of the containers for food storage, the HDPE material is commonly used for manufacturing the other goods like:
- Fishing boats
- Holiday fireworks
- Tanks for fuel
- Folding furniture for a home
- Bottles and caps
- Facial and skeletal surgery
- Pipes for domestic water supply or watering etc.
Can I Boil Water in an HDPE Container?
Unfortunately no. As we have already mentioned, the HDPE containers can resist some high temperatures up to 80 degrees Celsius for a short time.
A boiling process takes too long so a box or a bottle made of polyethylene can melt, despite the fact that it’s a high-density product.
If possible, please, use a glass or ceramic dish for microwave ovens.
Check for additional labels and marking on your plastic boxes to make sure that they can be used in the microwave oven.
Please, remember that the microwave oven doesn’t only heat the container itself, but the food it contains. Make sure the temperature is not too high.