Plastic Tray Basics: The Different Types of Plastic Trays to Choose for Foodservice

The plastic tray is essential to the day to day operations of the food service industries. From five star restaurants, huge bakeries and fast food chains, all the way to street foods, most of them use a plastic tray to serve, display and even cook food. There are various types of plastic trays available in the market and they vary according to the materials they are made of. Different types of plastics are suitable and better for different food service operations, so picking the right suitable one will be crucial.


This quick and simple guide will tackle the various types of plastics used to manufacture a plastic tray used in numerous food service industries. In this guide, you will have the chance to identify that right type of plastic tray that will perfectly suit your needs.


Different Types of Plastic Materials to Manufacture a Plastic Tray


Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): ABS is a type of plastic that has a heavy resistance to scratches, stains, and breakage. A very durable material that can temperatures ranging from 0°F to 180°F. Plastic trays made out of this material is safe in dishwashers and has an average dry time. However, ABS plastic trays are not designed to be used in microwaves. ABS trays are also cheaper compared to others and combined with the durability they offer, they are the popular choice for restaurants.


Melamine: This is a very old type of plastic that traces its history back to the 1830s. This is a durable and stain resistant material that can take temperatures that range from 0°F all the way to 212°F. A melamine plastic tray has faster dry time and can be used in dishwashers. It is also a non-microwavable material.


Polycarbonate: This material has a very high breakage resistance but has a moderate resistance to staining and very low resistance to scratches. However, this material has a greater range compared to ABS and Melamine. A polycarbonate plastic tray can handle temperatures ranging from -40°F up to 212°F, making it an ideal tray for freezers and high-temperature atmosphere. This material is also dishwasher safe and microwavable.


Polypropylene: Invented in the early 1950s, polypropylene trays feature moderate resistance to breakage as well as scratches. They also have very high stain resistance and can handle temperatures ranging from 32°F all the way up to 180°F. A plastic tray made out of this type of plastic is microwavable and dishwasher safe.


Co-Polymer: This type of plastic is one of the five polypropylene creased plastic variation. It is a material that has very high breakage, stain and scratch resistance with a quick drying time as well. A copolymer plastic tray is also dishwasher safe and microwavable. These trays are capable of handling temperatures from 40°F to 210°F, making them unsuitable for use in freezers.