Can you microwave styrofoam plates?

  • By: Emma
  • Date: May 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

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Can you microwave styrofoam plates?

If you’ve ever microwaved anything, you’ve likely asked yourself at one point or another whether or not it’s safe to do so. And if you’ve ever microwaved a styrofoam plate, you may have wondered if there’s any difference between microwaving styrofoam and plastic plates. Can you ever microwave styrofoam plates?

So, can you microwave styrofoam plates? The answer turns out to be No. It isn’t okay to take the risk of microwaving them as they aren’t microwave-safe.

In this blog post, we’ll answer those questions and more as we explore the safety of microwaving styrofoam and plastic plates.

So read on to learn more!

What material is styrofoam?

Styrofoam was invented in 1940-41 by Dow Chemical chemists who were looking for a way to use the chemicals left over from polystyrene production.

Styrofoam is actually the trade name of a material called expanded polystyrene, or EPS for short. Styrofoam is made up of tiny little beads that are mixed with chemicals and put into molds to set.

Styrofoam is widely used because it’s inexpensive and can be molded into almost any shape. It’s often used in packaging materials, cups, plates, trays, insulation, and craft projects.

Since styrofoam is porous, it can absorb impurities from the air. An example of one common impurity found in the atmosphere is sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide reacts with styrofoam to produce polystyrene sulfonic acid. Styrofoam with sulfur dioxide on it is not safe to use as it can leach harmful chemicals into food!

9 Reasons why you should avoid using styrofoam plate in the microwave

Here are 9 reasons why you should stop using Styrofoam plates & cups in the microwave:

#1 The Styrofoam plates release carcinogenic toxins when microwaved.

#2 Styrofoam cups contain methyl chloride which is neurotoxic and causes nausea, tremors & potentially deadly effects on the nervous system.

#3 When microwaving food in styrofoam containers, harmful chemicals leak into your food.

#4 The harmful chemical Styrene, a suspected carcinogen, is released from the Styrofoam when microwaved.

#5 The styrene leeches into your food and drinks because of which you might get serious health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, low birth weights, etc

#6 Styrofoam can even melt in the microwave. Once it starts melting, it will emit cancer-causing chemicals such as styrene and benzene.

#7 The heat from the microwave causes styrofoam to break down and release dangerous carcinogens and toxins into food.

#8 Another reason you shouldn’t use Styrofoam plates in the microwave is that when microwaving plastics, their toxic chemicals leach into food which causes diseases such as cancer, infertility, immune system disorders, etc.

#9 According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, polystyrene is harmful to health. Many scientists have linked styrene leaching from polystyrene containers with numerous diseases including cancers, autoimmune disorders.

Alternatives of styrofoam plates to use in microwave

Plastic plates

These plates are not the only replacement you can use when microwaving. There are a number of other disposable plates that do not contain harmful chemicals, and some even come in eco-friendly materials.

Paper plates

Paper plates are made from paper pulp or recycled paper products. They’re typically lined with polyethylene to seal the edges and prevent leakage.

Eco-friendly plates

There is a range of eco-friendly alternatives to disposable paper plates and styrofoam plates you can use in the microwave. Some options include bamboo, palm leaf, or metal.

Ceramics plates

The best alternative may be ceramic plates since they are inert. They are non-porous, so they are easy to clean and won’t absorb food or impurities in the air.

Glass plates

Lastly, you could also use glass microwaveable dishes instead of paper plates or styrofoam plates for microwaving. Glass is often touted as a safe and healthy material to use with microwaves.

Pottery plates

Most pottery plates are safe to use in the microwave as long as they have been treated with a glaze. The secret is to avoid bowls and plates that haven’t been treated, as those will break down faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is plastic?

Plastic is a material that is made up of long molecular chains called polymers. These chains are usually made from petroleum or natural gas and can be found in everyday items from water bottles to computers. Plastic has

How styrofoam is made?

Styrofoam is made of polystyrene beads that are heated to extremely high temperatures then cooled and cut into various sizes.

Is styrofoam toxic?

It can be. Styrofoam is made of chemicals that are known to be harmful to humans. Styrene, for example, can cause nerve damage in humans even when exposure is limited. Furthermore, styrene has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the EPA.

Can I freeze a styrofoam plate?

Absolutely yes. The styrofoam will not be harmed by the freezing process and can be used for food storage.

Can I put a styrofoam plate in a regular oven?

It is safe not to try this. The styrofoam can’t be placed in an oven because it emits chemicals that are dangerous. Else, it can simply burn.

How is paper good for microwaving?

Paper plates look similar to styrofoam plates, but they’re actually used for microwaving. Paper is safe for microwaving since it does not contain any chemicals or toxins that can be released during the process.

Can you microwave styrofoam cups?

Of course, not. Just like plates, styrofoam cups can’t be microwaved. They too emit harmful chemicals that are dangerous to the body when exposed.

Is a plastic plate cheaper in price than a styrofoam plate?

Styrofoam plates are typically cheaper in price compared to plastic plates. This is due to the manufacturing costs, but styrofoam plates cost more when it comes to disposal.

Why is the Styrofoam plate banned in some universities?

Styrofoam contains chemicals that are known carcinogens. These chemicals can be easily released during microwaving and cause diseases. The harmful effects of styrofoam make it dangerous for use in universities.


If you are wondering if it’s okay to use styrofoam cups or plates in microwaves then you have clearly come to the right place. You should always avoid using Styrofoam plates or cups. Please consider using paper plates or ceramic plates instead as prevention is better.

Just choose one of the above-mentioned alternatives and you are good to go!

Happy Cooking!

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