Plastic wrap is one of the easiest and most versatile food packagings that is used worldwide. Plastic wraps come in rolls of different sizes. Plastic wraps help you in several different ways, from packaging your kid’s school lunch to extending the longevity and quality of products bought at the supermarket the quality and durability of a plastic wrap cannot be matched.
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There are many names attributed to plastic wrap. Saran wrap, cling film, food wrap are just some of the many. Plastic wrap is commonly used to preserve food by wrapping it around either the top of the container or around the food item itself. Plastic wraps are rolls sold in boxes with an edge to cut. They are also adhesive enabling them to cling to the object and seal it properly.
Plastic wrap was an accidental discovery in the year 1933 by a lab technician trying to wash beakers that were used to develop dry cleaning products. In the early years, the plastic wrap was not in the roll form that we now see today. It was initially made into a spray used as a coating for fighter planes to protect it from corrosion due to the salt from the ocean.
Materials used to make plastic wrap
Plastic wraps are made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). A cheaper less adhesive, alternative to PVC is the low-density. The tensile strength of the latter is increased by adding linear low-density polyethylene. The plastic wrap tightens around the food maintaining the quality of the food last longer.
Is plastic wrap bad for health?
Even though there are health concerns regarding the leakage of plastic elements into food from plastic wraps, the amount of leakage from the plastic wrap is not at toxic levels. Plastic wraps are FDA-approved and are declared safe for use.
Environmentally speaking foil is much worse than plastic wrap. The mining of bauxite which is the raw material used to make aluminium is more energy consuming than the process of making plastic wraps. More energy consumed means the rate of fossil fuel burnt is much higher and therefore the negative impact on the environment is significantly greater. For aluminium packaging to be less harmful to nature, it has to be reused and recycled six times and that is not feasible as the majority of recycling centres will not accept aluminium foils.
Keeping the environment aside, t is so much more harmful to cook with aluminium. The leakage of toxins into the food is at an alarming level when cooking with aluminium. The toxins released by aluminium is a contributor to bone diseases, Alzheimer's Disease and even the loss o brain cells.
Therefore we can come to the conclusion that cling film is much better than aluminium foil for health and the environment.
Can plastic wrap be used in microwaves and conventional ovens?
Plastic wrap can be used in the microwave but not in the oven. The plastic wrap must be perforated before microwaving the food for there to be ventilation for the steam to escape. Do keep in mind that plastic wrap should not be used with fatty food in a microwave as the high temperature of fat may melt the plastic. However plastic wrap cannot be used in conventional or toaster ovens and stovetops as the plastic will melt when used in these appliances.
Can the plastic wrap be used in the freezer?
As long as there are no air gaps between the wrap and the food, plastic wraps can be used to store food in the freezer.