How to Identify Food Grade Buckets as Food Storage Equipment is simple project once you understand an outline of the rules. Plastic is one of the most widely used materials for various purposes. But off late we often hear that plastic is harmful to health and the environment. We need to understand the difference between what is harmful and what is not.
Using food grade plastic containers are convenient in many ways because it is air tight, semi-transparent, insect proof, compact and portable.
In order to identify the quality of the food grade buckets we have some easy steps which are visible to us before buying or using the plastic containers. When we observe the bottom of the plastic bucket/container we find some symbols and numbers. There are numbers between 1 and 7 which indicates the grade of the material used to manufacture the container. The best quality or grade of the plastic container is indicated by the number ‘2’ which means a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is used especially to store food. This is considered to be the best grade plastic for food storage.
Another important thing to note is that a number “7” indicates the use of a bio-plastic. Bio-plastics are synthesized from plants, which are the basic raw materials. These are no doubt eco-friendly, and also safe for food storing purposes on a long term basis.
If any container is used for food storing, the label on it will clearly read so. Make sure you check the label before you buy it. Food grade buckets can be used for many years without any safety issues.
You can find these food safe buckets at bakeries, ice cream manufacturers, large restaurants or kitchens, or food processing plants…. ask before they throw them out.
The different types are:
1-PET (or PETE): PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is a clear, tough polymer with exceptional gas and moisture barrier properties. PET’s ability to contain carbon dioxide (carbonation) makes it ideal for use in soft drink bottles. Examples: Soft drink bottles, detergent bottles.
2-HDPE: HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is used in milk, juice, and water containers in order to take advantage of its excellent protective barrier properties. Its chemical resistance properties also make it well suited for items such as containers for household chemicals and detergents. Most five gallon food buckets are made from HDPE. Examples: Milk bottles, shopping bags. Most but not all food grade buckets are type 2 HDPE.
3-Vinyl (PVC): Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) provides excellent clarity, puncture resistance and cling. As a film, vinyl can breathe just the right amount, making it ideal for packaging fresh meats that require oxygen to ensure a bright red surface while maintaining an acceptable shelf life. Examples: Plastic food wrap, shrink wrap, garden hoses, shoe soles.
4-LDPE: LDPE (low-density polyethylene) offers clarity and flexibility. It is used to make bottles that require flexibility. To take advantage of its strength and toughness in film form, it is used to produce grocery bags and garbage bags, shrink and stretch film, and coating for milk cartons. Examples: Squeeze bottles, dry cleaning bags.
5-PP: PP (polypropylene) has high tensile strength, making it ideal for use in caps and lids that have to hold tightly on to threaded openings. Because of its high melting point, polypropylene can be hot-filled with products designed to cool in bottles, including ketchup and syrup. It is also used for products that need to be incubated, such as yogurt.
6-PS: PS (polystyrene), in its crystalline form, is a colorless plastic that can be clear and hard. It can also be foamed to provide exceptional insulation properties. Foamed or expanded polystyrene (EPS) is used for products such as meat trays, egg cartons and coffee cups. It is also used for packaging and protecting appliances, electronics and other sensitive products.
7-Other: This category basically means “everything else” and is composed of plastics that were invented after 1987. Plastics labeled as grade 7 should be specifically noted as being “food safe” before they are used to package or handle food.
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