Can You Put Styrofoam In The Microwave

Going out for dinner can be one such treat. It’s good that someone else takes care of preparing the food, setting the table, and washing the dishes. Sometimes the portions are too big to eat in one sitting. Luckily almost every restaurant has Styrofoam containers for packing your leftovers to take home with you. You might be wondering, can you put Styrofoam in the microwave?

You go out to eat and order a delicious pasta entree. It arrives at the table in a giant bowl laden with melted cheese and all the fixings. Have a side of garlic bread and salad. It sounds delicious but you can only eat so much, so pack the leftovers to take home.

The next morning when you’re getting ready for work you think about the leftover pasta in your fridge. Perfect, there’s something to bring for lunch today. However, can you put styrofoam in the microwave in the lunchroom?

The answer to this question all depends on what type of styrofoam you have. There are two types of styrofoam and one is safe to be heated up, while the other isn’t. Today we’re going to go over the difference between the two so you know if the container you receive your food in is safe to go in the microwave.

How Do You Know If Styrofoam Is Microwave Safe?

You brought that leftover pasta with you to work today and you must be wondering “how do you know if styrofoam is microwave safe”? There are a few indicators to look for on the label so you know if the container you received is microwave safe. Look for any of the following labels on the bottom of your container:

  • Micro
  • Microwave safe
  • “Warm waves” symbol

If you see any of these labeled on the bottom of your styrofoam container then you can safely reheat your leftovers in that container. Even though you can safely reheat these styrofoam containers, it’s still a good idea to keep their time in the microwave short. Don’t heat styrofoam up for more than 60 seconds at a time.

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Can Styrofoam Be Melted In The Microwave?

If you leave a styrofoam container in the microwave for too long then you do risk a chance of it melting. The original type of styrofoam that was invented is made out of polystyrene which is basically a plastic product. When asked “can styrofoam be melted in the microwave?” The answer could always lead to a yes if you are not careful. This is because styrofoam doesn’t react very well to high heat.

Modern types of styrofoam can be microwaved because they are made from safer materials. This doesn’t mean that you should leave them in the microwave for longer periods of time. If you are reheating your food in a styrofoam container try to always keep it to a short interval.

When it comes to reheating leftover food in styrofoam containers remember the rule of 60 seconds or less. You don’t want to see any melted styrofoam on your delicious dinner. That would completely ruin those delicious leftovers.

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What Happens When You Microwave Styrofoam?

If you check the labels to make sure you have a microwave-safe container and stick to the 60 seconds or less rule, then you will have a warmed-up dinner. However, if you avoid these rules you could find yourself with quite the mess.

What happens when you microwave styrofoam if it’s not one of the microwave-safe containers? If you left the container in the microwave for too long you will start to smell burning plastic, and this means that the styrofoam could be melting onto your dinner.

Even if the styrofoam doesn’t melt, it could still be causing harm to your food. The toxins from the heated up styrofoam container can still come in contact with your food regardless. If you eat the food then you will ingest these toxins and put yourself at risk of getting sick.

Before you get too nervous, styrofoam needs to reach a temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 seconds to start releasing these toxins. Another reason why you must always check the label on your container before putting it in the microwave.

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Styrofoam Dangers & Side Effects:-

Is Styrofoam flammable? Pure Polystyrene is highly flammable, but depending on the application, chemical additives help it become more resistant to flame.

Unfortunately, Styrofoam containers are thin and not designed to be cooked with, therefore also pose a fire risk.

Some of the potential consequences that can result from ingesting the chemical components of heated polystyrene may include:

  • Eye and stomach irritation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Clinical depression
  • Dysfunction of the central nervous system

Does microwaving Styrofoam cause Cancer? You may have come across articles stating that Styrene, a chemical found in Polystyrene, has been linked with cancer. And to be clear, it has been listed as a possible carcinogen.

As the risks of microwaving Styrofoam are largely unproven at this point, it is hard to say whether or not microwaving typical Styrofoam releases enough of these chemicals to cause harm to human health.

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Final Thoughts: Can You Put Styrofoam In The Microwave?

If you want to bring your leftover pasta dinner to work the next day for lunch then remember to thoroughly check the labels on the container before putting your food in the microwave. It’s never worth taking the risk of getting sick.

  • When reheating your dinner in a microwave-safe styrofoam container, avoid heating it up at high temperatures. Keep the temperature low and the intervals short to have a safely heated meal. You only want to be eating food, not pieces of melted styrofoam plastic as well.
  • It is understandable if the idea of reheating styrofoam makes you uncomfortable. Consider keeping a stash of microwave-safe reusable containers on hand to transfer your food into when you get home. This way you will never have to worry about your container making you sick.
  • You can always bring your own microwave-safe bowl along with your meal packed in styrofoam. This will ensure that you have nothing to worry about when reheating your food at lunchtime. Now that you understand the difference between which styrofoam containers are safe to reheat and which aren’t, we hope you have enough information to make the right decision. It is always a good idea to take extra steps for a safe meal.

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About Author
An engineer and MBA, who is a technology and a gadget freak. I write about smart home solutions and gadgets like all wireless devices, technology brands like Apple. Love to follow the latest trends in the technology space and write about latest developments.