Why You Should Switch To Plastic-Free Microwave Food Covers

In today’s fast-paced world, microwaves have become an essential kitchen appliance, saving us time and effort when it comes to reheating food.  However, convenience should not come at the expense of our health and the environment. We have written extensively about storing hot food in plastic containers and why we should avoid single-use plastic water bottles and even plastic baby bottles, because they all shed microplastics when exposed to high heat. Today we look at microwaving food with plastic covers and why this is not great for your health.

 

The Environmental Impact of Plastic Microwave Covers

Microwave food covers are usually made of cheap polypropylene (PP) plastic, so cheaply that they sell for only a couple of dollars in kitchen appliance stores. They are needed to cover your food and prevent spillage while you heat it with the microwave, saving you also hours of cleaning it afterwards. These ubiquitous plastic microwave covers, commonly used to prevent messy splatters and retain moisture during reheating, contribute to the mounting plastic pollution crisis, as they deteriorate over time, sometimes they even melt a bit, therefore they need to be replaced more often than glass for example.

Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to our oceans, wildlife, and overall ecosystem. As environmentally conscious consumers, it is crucial to explore sustainable alternatives to reduce our plastic footprint. In this blog article, we will dive into the world of plastic-free microwave covers and explore eco-friendly solutions for a greener, healthier kitchen.

 

Why Should You Cover Your Food in the Microwave?

Lightly covering your food while reheating it in the microwave keeps the steam close to your food ensuring that the dish reheats evenly, as it help retaining the moisture. So, it is better to reheat food covered as the food tastes better.

 

Are Plastic Microwave Plate Covers Safe?

According to recent studies, they are not. Even more worrying than the environmental impact of plastic microwaves is the health impact! When plastic is heated, it can release harmful chemicals into the air and food, posing potential health risks. Using plastic microwave covers may release microplastics and nanoplastic into your food as recently demonstrated by a study in the Journal of Environmental Science. This study investigated the release of microplastics and nanoplastics from polypropylene (PP) plastic containers and polyethylene-based (PE) reusable food pouches under different usage scenarios and came to the conclusion that some containers could release as many as 4.22 million microplastic and 2.11 billion nanoplastic particles from only one square centimeter of plastic area within 3 min of microwave heating. This is particularly concerning for heating baby food considering the size of babies and their development. The article mentioned here below provide further insights into this study and the use of plastic containers in contact with food.

 

Related: Is It Harmful to Store Food in Plastic Containers?

 

Alternatives to Plastic Microwave Splatter Covers

Fortunately, there is an array of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic microwave covers that can help us reduce our plastic waste footprint and protect our health. Let’s explore some of the healthiest microwave splatter covers that are plastic-free:

Ceramic Plates:

One of the safest things to cover food in a microwave is to simply utilize a ceramic plate or a soup plate on top of another ceramic flat plate. Or vice versa, use a flat plate as a cover if you’re using a ceramic soup plate or a bowl to reheat your meal. This is also the most budget method as everyone has soup plates already in their kitchen.

Glass Lids and Plates:

Using microwave-safe glass lids or plates can effectively cover food during reheating. Glass is a non-toxic and inert material that won’t leach harmful chemicals into your food, making it a safer option for your health. It’s usually available as borosilicate glass, which is more resistant to thermal shock than any other common glass, and usually as well less fragile and more durable.

Beeswax Wraps:

Beeswax wraps, made from organic cotton infused with beeswax and jojoba oil, can also be utilized to cover dishes in the microwave. These wraps are pliable, reusable, and can be washed with cool water and mild soap after each use. Due to the material these wraps are made of, we see them as a safe alternative to plastic microwave covers.

Silicone Microwave Covers:

Silicone microwave covers are flexible, easy to clean, and can be used repeatedly, making them a great alternative to disposable plastic covers. We’ve even seen collapsible silicone microwave covers online. Silicone is a durable, heat-resistant, and reusable material, however we do not recommend to use it in either the microwave, nor in the oven. A 2022 laboratory test by the independent German organisation Oeko Test showed that in some cases chemicals from silicone baking forms migrated into food (the test is available only in German but you’re able to translate it via Google). They tested 20 baking forms for different manufacturers and found that seven silicone baking molds released more chemicals substances into food than the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommends. A supplier had, therefore, to recall his product. Furthermore, they also found noticeable silicone components in the baked muffins themselves.

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags:

We’ve noticed reusable silicone food storage bags with a microwave-safe seal on the market as another claimed eco-friendly option. Some manufacturers claim that these bags can safely cover your food during reheating and are easy to clean and reuse. For the reasons mentioned above, we do not recommend using these products while cooking, baking or microwaving food.

 

Beeswax Food Wraps for Food storage and as Plastic-free Microwave Food Covers

Image: Beeswax Wraps on Food Containers  – unknown.

 

Related: Why You Should avoid Plastic water Bottles?

 

The 4 Best Plastic-Free Microwave Food Cover Brands

We have searched the web for the best and safest microwave covers with no plastic. Here below is our selection.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. This helps us continue the hard work we put into researching products and solutions to plastic/ microplastic pollution. 

Important Disclaimer: While we make our best efforts to scout plastic-free products around the world, we are also aware that sometimes we do have to make some compromise, as long as still in line with our values. In this article, we are presenting the best versions of what is available on the market. Some of the covers have knob made of silicone a syntethic material, and we disclose it in the product description.

 

1. Bezrat Glass Microwave Cover

 

Bezrat Glass Cover

This pure glass splatter guard lid allows for a dirt and mess free experience while cooking or warming up food in the microwave. The two hole venting System allows the steam to escape, and controls the hot air to heat your food evenly and prevents the food from drying out by keeping it fresh and moist. It is also dishwasher safe. Please note: the handle is made of silicone for an easy grip.

Size: 10″

Check the latest price on Amazon USACanadaUKAustralia

 

2. Cuchina Safe 2-in-1 Cover ‘n Cook Microwave Plate Cover and Baking Dish

 

Cuchina Safe Microwave Food Cover

This 2-in-1 microwavable Cover ‘n Cook dish plate can be used as a 2 quart baking dish or a glass plate cover. It has a patented design with unique vents and concentric rings, hold the lid in place, allowing for easy and healthy cooking without the need of a silicone knob. You can purchase this product as a set or you can buy the vented glass microwave lids separately, as they can be used to cover mugs, bowls etc.

Size: 11″

Check the latest price on Amazon USACanadaAustralia

 

3. Tall Microwave Tempered Borosilicate Glass Plate Cover

Tall Unbranded Plastic Free Microwave Food Cover

This unbranded borosilicate glass plate cover is taller than the average microwave dish allowing you to heat up or cook meals of any size. This strong tempered borosilicate is sturdy, BPA-free, and Phthalate Free – meaning no plastics or chemicals will leak into your food. It has a silicone knob that provides a cool, firm grip for safe handling of the  food cover.

Size: 10″ x 4″

Check the latest price on Amazon USACanadaAustralia

 

4. Simax Casserole Borosilicate Glass Dish Set

Simax Casserole Borosilicate Glass

Simac offers a plastic free casserole dish set consisting of three bowls & lids to cook your food in the oven or in the microwave without worrying about nasty chemicals leaching into your food. The products are made in Europe, in the Czech Republic, from shock resistant borosilicate glass that doesn’t not absorb odors or flavors. Their concept is a hassle free and worry-free “oven to table, to fridge, to microwave dish” using the same dish & cover to cook and store food everywhere in the kitchen saving you money in the long run. The casseroles can withstand temperatures between 572° and -40° Fahrenheit (300°/-40° Celsius).

Size: different combinations

Check the latest price on Amazon USACanadaUKAustralia

 

Conclusion

As we strive to live more sustainably and healthy, it’s essential to make conscious choices in our daily routines, including in the kitchen. By ditching plastic utensils in the kitchen and adopting healthier alternatives like plastic free microwave food covers and casseroles, we can significantly reduce our plastic waste footprint, as products made of borosilicate glass are very durable and shock resistant, therefore they don’t break easily. Plus they are a very wise choice for our own health.

Remember, the little choices we make today can have a significant impact on our future health. So, let’s take a step towards a healthier kitchen and a cleaner world by embracing plastic-free microwave covers. Together, we can protect the environment and ourselves from nasty chemicals and leave a positive legacy for generations to come.

 

 

Comments

  • Andrew Donelson
    February 11, 2024 at 11:56 am

    What about the plastic covers that cover the trays of foodwse buy im grocery stores intended for microwave.but thay you store such food boxes with thei intenal= plasticl covers over the trays insie your freezer until ready to be heated in microwave, You are told to either leave cover on or make holes in covering using microwave cooking.Are they safe? Do they contain PFAS or PFAS derived products? Thank you. A concerned consumer.My wife and infant son and I all got cancer ,both my (wife and sonwho as infant drank daily formula with Army water_ I got both kidney cancer and advanced prostate cancer while drinking the drinking water from the utilty connected tp our home water at 2 Army bases 1969 to 1971, Our highest ppt PFAS was 188,000. ppt in our water. We are trying to be caredul not to get our blood PFAS ppt of Forever Chemicals elevated even more.

    • I'm Plastic Free
      February 11, 2024 at 3:15 pm

      Hi Andrew,
      Thank you for your comment and so sorry to hear that you and your family all have cancer. It’s tragic to see what happened with the use of PFAS and all other toxic chemicals around us… Please stay away from warming up any food or drink in plastic, particularly with cancer. If possible, transfer the food in a ceramic plate or bowl, then microwave it. My advice is to buy less processed food as possible as this has been found to contain microplastics too. Please read this article: https://oceanconservancy.org/news/its-not-just-seafood-new-study-finds-microplastics-in-nearly-90-of-proteins-sampled-including-plant-based-meat-alternatives/
      PS: I’m not a medical expert, our disclaimers states this, however this what I would do.
      Kind regards,
      Simona

  • Madison
    June 12, 2024 at 11:22 pm

    What about the actual microwave? The interiors should be plastic free and made with non-toxic material? Mine is very old and so I would like to change it out. Do you have suggestions?

    • I'm Plastic Free
      June 14, 2024 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Madison,
      Thanks for your comment, it’s a great question! As far as we are aware the coating inside a microwave oven might be Teflon and therefore not plastic free. We haven’t come across any microwave oven without coatings. Personally, we use the microwave only when in the office at work, when there is no alternative to warm up your food.
      Kind regards,
      Simona

  • Doreen
    June 20, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    Good article. I recently changed most of my dishes to Boroscilate glass for storing food. I do have hundreds of plastic containers to store cakes and biscuits in and wonder if this is safe for these items and cold food? It is startling to hear this news especially as I am a Queen of plasctic containers. I am now researching to buy non plastic non heavy microwave covers to heat food up in the microwave.

    • I'm Plastic Free
      June 24, 2024 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Doreen,
      Thanks for your comment. Glad to hear you liked the article. I also still use plastic containers I already have for dry or cold food… however washing these at high temperatures in the dishwasher is not a great habit. If at all, they should go only in the top rack. I definelty do not use plastic in contact with hot food or drinks. In the microwave, plastic should not be used at all! I hope this helps.
      Kind regards,
      Simona

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