Convenience is a necessity in the busy world we live in today. People order products online, have their groceries delivered, and just drive through restaurants to get food. We don’t have time to eat in restaurants or go to the store. Fast food, delivery, and take out are very popular. Food convenience has become a part of every family.
We are pampered with quick and fast options for mealtime. You can eat frozen food that is heated and/or cooked within minutes. You can have an entire family meal delivered to your doorstep. Also, heating up food is convenient! Everyone has a microwave to reheat leftovers quickly or to even cook with; but what do you do when you want to heat up those take out leftovers?
Can you throw leftovers that are in styrofoam in the microwave? Not really, but what about paper box containers? Can you microwave food in paper box containers? Yes, you can but only under certain conditions. It really just depends so let’s learn the details.
Can You Microwave Styrofoam? That’s a Negative!
Styrofoam has taken over the world. Well, not really. But you really do find the stuff everywhere! There are styrofoam packing peanuts inside many packages, styrofoam coolers to keep your drinks cold, styrofoam plates, styrofoam cups, and styrofoam egg cartons!
I could sit here all day listing how many things we make from styrofoam. One of the things you will see made of styrofoam a lot is to-go boxes. If you’ve ever ordered food to go or taken your restaurant leftovers home, chances are, you’ve seen a styrofoam to-go box. We have all had a styrofoam to-go box in our fridge filled with leftover goodness; we looked forward to enjoying later. What do you do when you want to heat your leftovers up, but don’t feel like getting a plate dirty?
Can you microwave styrofoam? Nope, no, and don’t do it. Microwaving styrofoam should never be happening. You see, styrofoam is made out of a type of soft plastic. It works great for storing food, but not for heating food. As you know, heat can melt the plastic. This is exactly what happens when you try to microwave styrofoam. The chemicals in the plastic can actually transfer into your food during the microwaving process, and these chemicals can be toxic. Do you want to melt harmful chemicals into your food?
I didn’t think so. So the next time you want to heat up those leftovers, make sure you transfer the food over to a plate. It’s safe to say anyone would rather dirty up a plate than dirty up their health.
Can You Really Microwave Food in Paper Box or Cardboard Containers?
Now you know that you can’t microwave styrofoam, but what about food that comes in paper boxes or cardboard? Lots of food comes in these types of containers. Chinese food loves to come in paper boxes; you know those white ones with the handles and the little red Chinese house? That’s a paper box. Pizzas usually come in cardboard boxes.
Pizza boxes are usually too big for your microwave, but you can also get those small personal-sized pizza boxes. Lots of foods are sent home to you in either a paper or cardboard box. Paper and cardboard are very popular for food transportation.
Can you microwave food in paper box containers and cardboard boxes? Yes, you can! Ordering take-out just got easier; now that you know you don’t even have to transfer the food over to a plate to reheat it later. You do have to pay attention to the container before you throw it in the microwave! The Chinese food containers, for example, sometimes have metal handles on them.
You certainly can’t throw these containers in the microwave with the metal handle attached! If you don’t know what happens when you try to microwave metal, just take my word for it when I tell you that it is not a pretty picture. If you want to nuke your Chinese leftover container, you will need to detach the metal handle and/or any other metal attached to the container before you microwave it.
Small pizza boxes are just as safe and don’t usually have metal containers attached to them, so nuke away!
Paper Box and Cardboard Microwaving Precautions!
While it is safe to microwave paper boxes or cardboard boxes, you do need to be careful. The world has gotten more and more environmentally friendly over the years. While recycling used to be a thing only some people did, now everyone is doing it. You can even find recycling bins at restaurants separating plastics from glass and paper. Because of this, it can add a bit of an issue when it comes to microwaving your paper box or cardboard.
Cardboard and paper companies have become environmentally safe too; by producing their products from recycled materials. Recycled boxes can have small particles of metal or other particles that are not microwave-safe. This means that you can cause sparks in the microwave from these recycles boxes. Luckily, it is very rare for food boxes to be recycled so you don’t have to stress too much about this.
You do, however, need to make sure you aren’t just throwing an empty paper/cardboard box in the microwave. The only reason it is safe to microwave food in paper or cardboard boxes is because of the food itself. Microwaves heat the fluids in the food particles keeping the cardboard from overheating. If the paper or cardboard container is empty, the microwave will have no choice but to heat the container up.
This can dry out the container and heat it up to the point of it catching on fire. Don’t catch your microwave on fire! Always make sure the only reason you want to heat up your paper/cardboard container is because there is food inside of it.
Convenient Food and Convenient Microwaving
Life has gotten so much easier over the years! You got phone apps that have people do your shopping, groceries, and pick up dinner. You don’t have to leave your house! Now you know that you don’t even have to move your leftovers from the container and onto a plate if you’ve got a paper box or cardboard container.
Eating is much easier now! I know I have always questioned what containers I can microwave because I didn’t want to wash a plate or was straight up feeling sluggish. No shame in that game. Remember to always transfer your food to a plate if it’s in a styrofoam container, and remember to remove the metal handle from any paper box to-go containers.
Can you microwave food in paper box containers and cardboard boxes? Yes! Thank goodness you can, because who has time to wash dishes? Feel free to be lazy and nuke your leftovers in that paper box to-go container, because now you know that it is safe. You’re welcome.