The Different Types of Plastic Food Packaging and Their Safety

Plastic packaging is one of the most important factors in keeping food fresh and preventing it from going bad. This material is known for being long-lasting, lightweight, and cost-effective. 

However, you probably didn’t know that there are more types of plastic than you might have expected. We will talk about each one in this article. Here, you will also learn their respective safety concerns. 

Plastic for food packaging 

Preserving food is one of the main priorities of manufacturers. The products should be kept fresh, clean, and smelling good. No other packaging material can match the ability of plastic to do all three. Plastic ensures that all food items are protected and unspoiled for long periods. 

Different types of plastic food packaging 

Plastic packaging is available in a variety of different material kinds, each of which has its own set of advantages. Here are a few examples you might want to know about:

Types of Plastic Food Packaging


Polypropylene is the most often used material for injection moulding. This is frequently employed in the production of bottles and bottle tops. Moreover, polypropylene is usually regarded as being safe for human consumption. The material is less hazardous than some other forms of plastics. Furthermore, it is not as brittle as some of the other typical food packaging polymers on the market. Cheese and cream are two examples of food products packaged with polypropylene plastic.

Oriented Polystyrene

This material, which is lightweight and resilient, is made by stretching extruded polystyrene sheets. In its initial state as a liquid monomer, oriented polystyrene eventually transforms into a stable, rigid polymer. Moreover, it is possible to recycle this material. 

Polypropylene with Chalk

This is simply a more environmentally friendly variant of the polypropylene used in manufacturing. The material is an example of a saturated polymer. Furthermore, the amount of chalk that is incorporated in the items can differ based on the request. Compared to the other materials, polypropylene provides a better barrier against alcohol and moisture penetration. Most importantly, it has been certified for use in the preservation of food and beverage products.

High Impact Polystyrene

Moving on, high impact polystyrene (HIPS) is a lightweight material that is often utilised in sign making and fabrication. Furthermore, they are most frequently found in household appliances and automobiles, among others. You can also find them in children’s toys. Since this type of plastic is entirely impervious to bacteria and germs, high impact polystyrene shields food from contamination.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

Polyester is referred to by its chemical name, polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This material is well-known for being transparent, long-lasting, and lightweight. Furthermore, you can find this material in most of the packaging for various goods and beverages. PET is typically considered food-safe, and early investigation revealed that it contained insignificant quantities of plasticisers compared to the other alternatives. Plasticisers are not generally known to cause skin harm. However, they can interfere with natural hormones once absorbed, suppressing testosterone and increasing estrogen.

What is the safest type of plastic food packaging? 

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate: Salad platters and water bottles are two examples of food packaging produced by this plastic material. Overall, it is a lightweight plastic that can be either semi-rigid or rigid depending on the use. It is also very effective at protecting both foods and beverages from being contaminated.
  • High-Density Polyethylene: This particular plastic packaging option possesses a distinctive mix of features. It is utilised in the production of fixtures, cans, and toys. Most importantly, High-Density Polyethylene can also be employed to develop long-lasting food-grade buckets that are ideal for preserving food over an extended period without spoiling. 
  • Polypropylene: Polypropylene is utilised in various applications, including consumer goods packaging. The plastic is also perfect for use in the microwave or dishwasher.  Additionally, it is a biologically inert solid that is deemed non-toxic. 

What is the most dangerous type of plastic food packaging?

  • Polyvinyl Chloride: This is another durable plastic packaging choice that can survive extreme temperatures. Cables, roofing materials, and faux leather garments are among the applications for which the material is most frequently employed. PVC has been utilised for more than 40 years in the food packaging industry. However, PVC is widely recognized as the most harmful plastic for both human health and the environment on the market. This product contains bisphenol A (BPA), lead, phthalates, mercury, dioxins, and cadmium, among other toxic substances. 

Benefits of plastic food packaging 

Plastic is the most adaptable of all the food packaging materials available. It has the flexibility to be shaped into any shape you desire. Furthermore, it is an excellent material for safeguarding food from contamination. Plastic packaging also ensures that your product arrives on store shelves or in your customers’ homes in the same condition as when it left the factory.

Having plastic food packaging is also advantageous in the sense that it is lightweight. In addition to saving energy during the manufacturing and shipping processes, using lightweight packaging can lower total expenses.

Sustainable plastic food packaging

Eco-friendly plastic food packaging solutions not only help you minimize your carbon footprint and environmental impact, but they also have a long-term benefit once they have fulfilled their function.

Plas-Pak is a proudly owned and operated Western Australian business. As one of Australia’s leading suppliers of premium plastic packaging, we place a premium on innovation and sustainability.

We are constantly elevating our technology and manufacturing processes to provide top products and new solutions to our customers.