What Makes Food Grade Plastic Different?

December 19, 2017

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In day-to-day life, most of us aren’t that discerning about the different types of plastic in our lives, much the same as we’re not that discerning about the different types of metal or wood. But, just like these other materials, there’s a whole lot of variation between the different types of plastic, which means the industry keeps a very close eye on how and where they’re used.

Only certain types of plastic are considered ‘food grade’ – in other words, fit to come into contact with food or beverages consumed by humans – and there’s lots of very good reasons for it!

What’s The Difference, And Why Does It Matter?

‘Food grade’ plastic isn’t a single material – there are a couple of different types that fit the bill. The key difference mainly lies in the way it’s made; we won’t get too much into the technical details, but basically the processes involved affect the purity of the final product. The average toy uses different plastic, for example, than the plastic used to make your wastepaper bin, and both use different plastic than the average water bottle. (Having said that, there are toys made for very young children using food-grade plastic, given their penchant for putting things in their mouths.)

The point is that any plastic that comes into contact with anything humans might consume – whether that’s food or liquid – is held to a particularly high standard. It can’t contain dyes, additives or other recycled materials deemed harmful to humans. That’s not to say food grade plastic can’t contain anything recycled at all. It can, as long as the recycled material meets standards – ultimately, food grade plastic has to be stable enough not to affect its contents. Foods that are highly acidic, for example, or any that contain alcohol or fats, have been known to leach plastic additives from the surrounding plastic packaging or container. Not a desirable scenario!

Our Food Grade Products At Excelsior

Here at Excelsior, two of the main materials we work with are high-density polyethylene and medium-density polyethylene, both of which are considered food grade material. Just a few of the applications we use food-grade material for are our rotomoulded plastic tanks, and obviously our food bins. Meanwhile, we use Recycle Black as an economical, environmentally friendly material to meet our sustainability aims, but it’s not suitable for food-grade applications.

If you know that your idea for a plastic product involves food or drink in some way, you’ll almost certainly have to consider food-grade material. Given that it’s a safety requirement, it’s always helpful to have some friendly advice on hand from the trusted industry professionals – and that’s exactly the kind of expertise we’re proud to provide here at Excelsior. We have decades of experience in creating sturdy, reliable safe plastic products using our rotational moulding processes.

Feel free to browse our existing product range, or give us a call on 0161 765 2010, to see how we can help make your plastic product a reality.

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