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Types of Plastics Used in Food Packaging

Unlike traditional packaging materials, plastic food packaging can be used in endless applications and shapes. Its low price, durability and optical properties have driven its continued growth. However, not all plastics are created equal. For example, polyethylene offers a combination of properties, while polystyrene is a good choice for non-food packaging. Plastics are created by a process called condensation polymerization. Some of the most common types of plastics used in food packaging include polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and polyester.
The most popular plastic material used in food packaging is polypropylene. Its many advantages include lightness, elasticity, and chemical resistance. Although polypropylene is not the cheapest material in the market, its strength and flexibility make it a worthwhile investment. Another important benefit of polypropylene is that it can be recycled. This is an especially important consideration for consumers who are concerned about food safety.
Another material of note in the food packaging arena is aluminum. Aluminum foil is a durable and lightweight material that provides a superior barrier to moisture and light. The process for making aluminum foil involves rolling pure aluminum metal into thin sheets. These are then annealed to achieve dead-folding properties.
A related material of note is glass. Glass is a very durable and lightweight material that is available in many sizes and shapes. Its best uses include heat sterilization of low-acid foods and insuring a product's freshness for a long time. It is also one of the few materials that does not require lacquer. Unlike plastics, glass can be recycled without destroying its integrity. Its small size also makes it a good candidate for the compost pile. Its other uses include protective packaging and insulating trays. Using glass in food packaging can be a cost effective alternative to plastics.
The best and most cost effective way to prevent food waste is to reuse it. Fortunately, there are many options for doing just that. This includes microwavable packaging and boil-in bags. Whether you're planning to save money or protect the environment, these options should be considered.

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