Can You Re-Use Plastic Restaurant To-Go Containers?


The Doctors: EPA Lawsuit

Several groups in Los Angeles are suing the Environmental Protection Agency due to dangerous levels of smog near the city’s busy freeways. The plaintiffs claim the conditions are affecting schools and neighborhoods near the highways with toxic pollution.

The Doctors: Re-Using Plastic Takeout Containers

Is it safe for you to re-use plastic takeout containers in the fridge or microwave?


Smog & Health Problems

Dr. Travis Stork said studies have proven that working or living near a freeway can make you more susceptible to health issues. A 2010 study concluded that LA residents near freeways have hardened arteries, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Dr. Andrew Ordon said the smog problem in LA has been improving over the years. Pollution can cause a variety of health problems, and Dr. Lisa suggested carpooling, bikes, or other ideas to reduce vehicular traffic.

Are Takeout Containers Reusable?

Is it safe to reuse plastic To Go containers from fast food restaurants? They are convenient for Chinese food and other leftovers, but can you pack a lunch in them, for example?


I’ve done it, and I never really thought about the risks. Today The Doctors weighed in with their thoughts.

Dr. Jim Sears said these restaurant containers tend to be more thin, and may only be designed for a single use. Look for a 1 on the bottom of the container, which would indicate Type 1 plastic. That’s the same material water bottles are usually made from, and it’s not meant for reuse.

Type 1 Vs Type 2 Plastic

Dr. Jim explained that Types 2, 4, and 5 are used for things like plastic storage containers you buy at the store for use in your kitchen or pantry.

BPA in Restaurant Takeout Containers

Dr. Andrew said this advice is based on studies of the dangerous BPA found in plastic. It is hard to know what the BPA levels are in a container you get from a restaurant.

Reusing Plastic Bags

He added that reusing them, washing them in the dishwasher and causing wear and tear will release even more BPA. The same goes for plastic storage bags.

BPA During Pregnancy Causes Birth Defects

Dr. Lisa Masterson said this type of plastic reuse can be especially risky for pregnant women, potentially causing birth defects in babies.


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