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All you should know about plastic materials used in manufacturing food packaging containers



All you should know about plastic materials used in manufacturing food packaging containers

What is the most common used plastic types used in foods packaging?

What do the symbols and numbers printed down the plastic container?


These symbols and numbers have a specific indications and meanings that help us with understanding plastic types which theses containers are made of, and helping us knowing if it makes any danger on humans health or not.

The triangle with clockwise pointing arrows means its a recyclable material, and the number inside the triangle represents a specific plastic material, the letters below the triangle is an abbreviation for the plastic types that represents the number inside the number inside the triangle. (notice the figures below)








if you are in the packaging field and industry, or interested in public health affairs, you should be educated about the properties of the plastic materials used in foods packaging, what are the safe types concerning humans health

these symbols called (industrial rating), consisted of viscous transformed substances into hard polymers, and according to it we can recognize the raw plastic material making the containers.


● NO. 1 PTE which refers to poly ethylene

Good and relatively safe, one time use only recommended

Considered as the most common used plastic in our daily life, entering the manufacturing of many products and containers used in packaging and preserving foods and beverages, such as:

Bags - water, soda and juices bottles – plastic containers

Features: does not decomposes when touching foods or beverages, it preserves these products of external effect like humidity and high temperatures, and can be used in microwaves.








● NO. 2 HDPE which refers to high density poly ethylene

Good and safe, can be reused if its transparent and recyclable

Considered as one of the most common used plastic in many products due to its hardness because of its high density, entering many industries, such as:

Juices and milk bottles – yogurt containers – food preserving containers – shampoos and cleaners bottles – kids toys.







● NO. 3 PVC which refers to chloride polyphenol

Good and safe in many containers except the food containers, due to its hazards on human’s health

Considered as a hazard plastic and its prevented in food containers because it may melt when touching foods and beverages, in other hands it widely used in many other industries due to its low price compared to other materials, featuring purity, transparency and hardness, but it doesn’t resist high temperatures

Enters many industries, such as:

Electric wires insulators – pluming pipes – shower curtains – chairs – tables






● NO. 4 LDPE which refers to low density poly ethylene

Good and relatively safe, can be used multiple times, can’t be used in microwaves or touch hot food

Considered transparent and elastic due to its low density and less hard and recyclable

Featuring high temperatures resistance, and due to its elasticity, it enters many containers, such as:

Ketchup and honey bottles – powder and liquid laundering bags – food preserving bags.

Good for sorting materials












● NO. 5 PP which refers to poly propylene

One of the best types of plastic on human’s health, and recyclable

Recommended to be used in foods containers, it suits cold and hot liquids, and it doesn’t form any hazard when touching foods and beverages, so it enters many industries, such as:

Water and juice bottles – yogurt, ketchup and butter containers – food bags – food containers -juice cups – medicine containers





● NO. 6 PS which refers to poly styrene or as known as white Styrofoam

Hazard material and non-safe to human’s health because it uses CEF gas in its making process

Prevented in food containers manufacturing, although some restaurants still use it

It looks hard, but its fragile which is one time use only, such as:

Burger meals packaging – hot dogs packaging – cups – food plates – egg containers








● NO. 7 Others which is other polymers

Doesn’t go under any of the previous six categories, commonly combined of a mix of pother plastic materials

This category is considered controversial and many companies avoid it, and some use it specially if the container is transparent or BPA free