Tupperware Items Made From #7 Plastic

In your purge of kitchen plastics, you might have noticed that Tupperware products are not coded with resin codes.  This is because Tupperware products have a lifetime guarantee and were not intended for recycling (hence they were not labeled with recycling codes). In a time where parents are concerned about what types of plastic holds their food and beverages, I wanted to find out what types of plastic they use. Here is what I emailed Tupperware:

I noticed your products do not have recycling codes on the bottom. What type of plastic is Tupperware made from. Is it BPA free? If not, do you have a recall list of products?

I received lots of good information back from their representative that anyone can view on their website.  From their response I have good news and bad news about Tupperware.  Which would you like first?  Let’s start with the good.  Tupperware has listed their products detailing the different types of plastic each is made from. This documentation is very clear if you remember the name of your Tupperware products (Rock ‘N Serve, etc.).  Personally, I know that would be gone from my memory years after purchasing it.  But if you can remember, this guide will be very helpful.  As you can see from their documentation, the three main plastics they use are 4, 5, and also 7. 

The bad news is yes, Tupperware has made some products with Polycarbonate plastic (#7).  A quote their site “Polycarbonate is used in a small percentage of our products, primarily those intended for high heat resistance, as well as some serving lines.”And another snipet from the Polycarbonate Concerns release  “Based on the repeated governmental scrutiny that polycarbonate has had by various regulatory agencies, Tupperware continues to believe the material is safe. As we have the highest regard and concern for the safety of our consumers, however, we will continue to closely monitor this scientific debate and conduct our own research into the best materials for use in Tupperware products.”  So to summarize….Tupperware thinks that food storage containers made from #7 plastics are safe.  That is a scary statement.  We know not all #7 plastics contain BPA, but as a parent, just seeing the symbol is enough to cause concern when trying to eliminate all kitchen products containing the chemical.  I am surprised that I didn’t see any statements regarding a recall on these items if a customer was concerned.  I have sent back a response to Tupperware asking if they are reimbursing people if they are concerned about a Tupperware product made from #7 plastic. For now, here is the list of 9 Tupperware items (as outlined on their website) that are made from #7 plastic:

Heat ‘N Serve/Rock ‘N Serve: Container

Ice Prisms: Bowls, Pitcher & Tumbler Set

Kitchen Duos

Microsteamer: Base

Microwave Cooker – Oval: Cover

Microwave Luncheon Plate

Quick Chef Base

Sheerly Elegant Line

Tumbler Bouquet & Pitcher Set: Pitcher

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45 Responses to Tupperware Items Made From #7 Plastic

  1. madelyn sacco March 16, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

    I have old and new containers and would like to know which are safe. Perhaps tupperware could show pictures as I am sure many of us do not remembertheir names.

  2. suzanne March 19, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

    I agree Madelyn…I googled this trying to find some for you..but didn’t have any luck. I’m acutally surprised at the lack of customer service Tupperware has exibited by not putting out a recall list and refund on these products like most other companies have. I would contact their CS dept. and request pictures. Great idea and good luck!

  3. Gloria September 11, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    I was just purging my kitchen of “bad plastics” and discovered that some oval containers about 6″ tall are marked with the #3 recycle code which is apparently the worst of the worst plastic. The taller version of this container is marked with #4 – not sure how bad that is, and the lids are not marked at all. My larger oval cereal containers are not marked either. Don’t know what to do about all this except of course to get rid of the #3’s.

  4. Hadeel Haddad September 23, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    I am worried about using the Tupperware UltraPlus. I don’t know what type of plastic it is made of.

  5. Suzanne October 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    Hi Hadeel,

    As a person that hasn’t purchased Tupperware before, the names of the products are not easily recognizable. I’ve checked the Tupperware product listing via the below link and couldn’t find anything matching the description Tupperware UltraPlus.

    I would email or call Tupperware to find out what type of plastic it is made from. If they confirm that it’s made from #7 polycarbonate plastic I would ask for my money back. Let me know how it goes!

    Founder Mommy Footprint

  6. Doreen November 23, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    the numbers on the storage tupperware containers are sizes #1,2,3,4,5 nothing to do with the type of plastic being used in tupperware. If you read the tupperware article carefully there is no reason to recall the product according to regulation and guide lines set by the government. tupperware surpassed all level of testing for safety.

  7. suzanne November 26, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    Hi Doreen..thanks for the comment. You are correct that the sizes are not a reflection of what type of plastic tupperware uses. They don’t list what type of plastic they use on the products, however they did list polycarbonate, BPA, #7 plastics in several of their items. The link I attached in the article confirms that – even Tupperware is not arguing this point. My disappoint with Tupperware is that they wouldn’t offer a refund to a customer that isn’t comfortable using this product after finding out (from the Tupperware site) that it contains BPA and is made from polycarbonate plastic.

  8. Alice Evans February 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    I used to sell tupperware in the late 70’s and ealy 80’s. Several of the pieces that I still have are in excellent condition such as the bread keeper and the smaller cracker keeper. The problem is that they have a odor to them and my crackers smell like that and taste horrible when they are left in the containers. I am not sure why that is but I am going back to glass, which is beter for our enviroment and does not outgas.

  9. Lisa July 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I just found a Tupperware rock and serve container with the recycling symbol and a 7 inside the triangle. So this is something to think about Doreen. I may just purge it all and switch to glass, like pyrex.

  10. Julie July 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    Hello, I would like to share with all of you that as of this past March 2010 Tupperware is 100% BPA Free including the items mentioned above (some of them are not actually available right now) If you would like some documentation to support it please email me and I can forward you the press release I received from our corporate office.
    Alice, if you are finding some of products have that odor you are refering to I would contact a consultant in your area and request it be replaced under the life time warrenty program. I have been doing that for my customers.
    Thank You Julie

  11. Julie July 13, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    I realized my contact info did not show up on the post:

  12. Lenne November 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    Thank You ! Very well written and nice to read! Very informative 🙂

  13. Shany January 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Alice, thank you for saying your Tupperware makes your food smell and taste bad. In the past year, I am having the same problem and can’t find any info about this issue. My modular mates are less than 8 years old and certain crackers/cereals have a strong odor/taste after being stored in the container. The container smelled fine before I put the food in but smells toxic after having the food stored. Not sure if change in snack recipe or these containers were made defective. Who knows if China added some weird chemical in the plastic to cut costs back then like they did with lead in toys!

  14. AStarr February 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    I am a TW consultant, and have replaced some products for customers lately due to that “crayon-like” smell – the smell is not covered under the warranty. Someone suggested leaving them in the sun for a day or two – I know that works when I have left onions in one of my containers for too long!

  15. suzanne February 17, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    Thanks for the comment AStarr. As a Tupperware consultant I would recommend you advise customers complaining of ‘plasticy or crayon’ smelling products to contact Tupperware directly to replace products with food-safe materials or return their money. Unfortunately, unlike the smell of an onion being left in a container, chemical off-gassing from old plastic cannot be ‘aired out’.

    Mommy Footprint

  16. Gail Haile March 13, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    do you have a source for a listing of plastic composition of older Tupperware? The one on their site is only for 2010 products. I have Modular Mates from the late 80’s as well as a few cereal containers from mid 70’s. all are in
    perfect condition, indestructible, but am now wondering about their safety. Just wrote to Tupperware to ask same question.

  17. suzanne March 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Hi Gail – in my original post on Tupperware (written in 2008) this information was still available on their site. I’m glad I listed it in the article because it’s no longer available on their site. Here were the items listed containing BPA.

    Products listed on the Tupperware site back in June 2008 confirming they contained BPA:

    Heat ‘N Serve/Rock ‘N Serve: Container
    Ice Prisms: Bowls, Pitcher & Tumbler Set
    Kitchen Duos
    Microsteamer: Base
    Microwave Cooker – Oval: Cover
    Microwave Luncheon Plate
    Quick Chef Base
    Sheerly Elegant Line
    Tumbler Bouquet & Pitcher Set: Pitcher

    My biggest problem with Tupperware is the fact they don’t acknowledge BPA as a dangerous chemical and they will not reimburse customers if they have a product that contains BPA and don’t want to continue to use the item. If you are worried about these products, make sure you are not heating or freezing in them – although new data suggests that BPA leaches at room temperatures. I guess your post proves that Tupperware really is a life-long product. If that a good thing – I’m not sure.

    Mommy Footprint

  18. Joan July 24, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Has anyone found a link or website with the pictures? I would like to purge my tupperware collection if it contains BPA. Thanks!

  19. Deitra September 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    I agree. I have Tupperware that has only been used to store crackers, cereal, cookies and the “crayon” smell is horrible. I have had to throw out a lot of food items due to the bad taste the “smell” created. Sometimes the containers smell ok after washing but the smell comes back on its own after a few days. I will not buy anymore and am trying to get Tupperware to swithc the ones I have out for me. No such luck so far.

  20. Deitra September 20, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    Tupperware is replacing mine with just a small shipping fee so I am very happy!

  21. Shawn March 12, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I, also, was a Tupperware consultant and Manager back in the 80’s-90’s. I have many of their products and have always enjoyed using them. However, my modular mates have started smelling like crayons too. It has caused me to throw out perfectly good food because of the odor and taste after storing in them. I am glad to find this blog and see that others are experiencing the same issues. Maybe if we put enough pressure on the corporate office, they will replace the items without hassle. I haven’t found a local consultant in my area nor seen one in years, but I have a box full of cracked pieces that need replaced as well due to years of not having a consultant and no one to take them to. Does anyone know where to go to get them replaced?

  22. Darlene June 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    For years I’ve been trying to replace my cracked Tupperware, with no luck from consultants or managers. They keep pushing me off and coming up with some ridiculous excuse. I tried emailing the corporation with no response from Customer Service. Recently I’ve noticed an intolerable smell from some of the Tupperware that I stored. This is more than a little creepy, food should not be in contact with something that smells this bad. I chucked them into the recycling bin, but then thought it might not be recyclable. Tupperware needs to honor their Lifetime Warranty, after all, we paid a premium when we purchased it because of the warranty, who knew the tag line to that warranty should have been, “if you can get us to honor it.”

  23. suzanne June 15, 2012 at 12:40 am #

    Hi Darlene! I agree…a product that doesn’t require a recycling code because it’s ‘guaranteed for life’ should have a problem returning your money when the item is cracked and now smells. I would recommend not using it for food storage with the odor. I will contact Tupperware via Twitter and ask about this policy. Do you remember the Tupperware name for the items you want to return? ~Suzanne

  24. madhavi July 16, 2012 at 9:38 am #

    even i used tupper ware boxs ,but when used for a long time i found that the box got like sticky like as if some greesy thing was sticking to the hands.

  25. Karen July 16, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    Hi Suzanne,

    I was researching this problem and came across your blog. Thanks.

    I have some semi-translucent, cloudy containers with dark green lids that I purchased in the 80s that have for a few years been giving off this yucky out-gassing smell, and the lids have begun cracking and failing as well. “Modular Mates” rings a bell as a name, but I’m not sure. I don’t generally use them for food anymore at all, just for storing lids for other containers and occasionally dry food like rice or flour (but I am ceasing to do that as well). If you find a place to return these to Tupperware, I would be interested in doing that, too.

    I will not buy Tupperware products anymore. I’ll check back to see what you find out via Twitter.

    Thanks, again!

  26. Lana Urey September 8, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    I have sold Tupperware for 15 years. The warranty is still in effect. It is for chipping, cracking, peeling or breaking for the product or like product.

    No where in Tupperware’s warranty does it say “money back”.

    As for the BPA, Tupperware US and Canada are BPA free and just for a note, the children’s line has been BPA free for years.

    I have been doing research at the college level and the reason that Tupperware could keep using BPA for as long as they did was that the amount Tupperware used was minimal…meaning smaller than the Government identified as dangerous.

    As for the off-gasing of plastics, I cannot explain it anymore than the rest of you. However, Tupperware is not made in China! It is made here in the US, Canada, London, and Mexico, but not China.

    and if the containers are cracked – you can replace them with a new container that is BPS free.

    just out of curiosity, have you returned your plastic water bottles for a refund that are still full of BPA? Or was this just a WAR on Tupperware?

  27. suzanne September 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Thank you for the comment Lana. Fact – Tupperware did contain BPA…I’m happy they’ve changed this. Most big companies offered money back on products containing BPA – Tupperware did not. Any level of BPA is not acceptable..it’s the low levels that have polluted our bodies. I’ve never owned Tupperware, but yes I did return my sippy cups and water bottles that contained BPA…all the companies were offering buy back programs at the time. My war is on plastic pollution not Tupperware.

  28. Jennifer September 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I am a Tupperware addict and have been buying Tupperware for years. Most of my kitchen is made of Tupperware! As a very loyal customer and advocate of Tupperware, I am so disappointed with their lack of concern regarding BPA.
    I don’t understand why- if Tupperware has maintained for all these years that their levels of BPA were safe – they have they taken it out all together now? Is that an admission of sorts?
    Lana, I am in Australia, perhaps we have different manufacturing agreements to the US, but many of my Tupperware pieces have printed on the bottom, Made in China or Made in Korea.
    During my plastic purge, I was most horrified to find my microwave bowl (designed for Microwave cooking) has the number 7 symbol on it. Of all the pieces – it’s one item that is continually being heated! I’m even more dissapointed that this particular piece was a half price gift from Tupperware only a few months ago in one of their “mystery pack” promotions. What a great way to off-load some BPA items that Tupperware claims not to sell anymore!
    I might also add, that if anyone has the ‘clear mates’ sets with the old green lids – they have the number 7 symbol on them too. (These would probably be at least 10 years old.)

  29. Cathy October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    i have a bunch of tupperware and there is no number for plastics on it, now what???

  30. suzanne November 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Hi Cathy – I would make sure you’re not heating or freezing food or liquids in UN-labelled (for plastics) tupperware. What do you use it for?

  31. Gail Livingston November 12, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    I have a Tupperware container purchased about 5 years ago that is suitable for bacon storage. There is a clock-type indicator pointing to # 8 which I take to be a re-cycle code. Below the indicator is a number 5348B-1. I purchased this article at a kiosk in a shopping center. I don’t see any reference to # 8 here.

  32. Linda November 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Hi Suzanne – My tupperware is mostly about 30 years old. I have many “square-rounds” that I have used for storing and freezing of food for years – some a softer type of plastic and some firmer. Some of the other softer type plastic containers I have used as canisters, pie and cake container/carriers, etc. also become sticky. I find if I scrub them down well, the stickiness goes away, but eventually will return. Is this a form off gassing? I also have some harder type storage bowls with lids. Are any of these okay or should I dispose of all of them?

    Who knew if the life time warranty would mean a life time of taking in toxic chemicals!


  33. Linda November 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    My healthcare practitioner has been trying to get me to get rid of my old Tupperware (circa late 80’s) for years. After reading this thread the deed is now done. They had been sitting in my cabinets empty for years, since I stopped using them when I smelled that strange smell too. Sidenote: While you’re purging plastics, be sure to check the bottles that contain your vitamins — I was shocked to find how many companies are using #1 (PETE) to package them. I have now switched to companies that bottle with glass or #2 (HDPE) plastic.

  34. suzanne November 14, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    Hi Gail – Tupperware didn’t label their products with recycling codes 5 years ago – so I don’t think that’s what the #8 stands for. I would call them to check.

  35. Jenni November 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    I have had trouble with Tupperware replacing items they seem to ignore the emails I have sent. After reading this forum I will seriously be looking at replacing all the Tupperware I own.

  36. Marty December 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    How do you get rid of the old Tupperware if you do not send to Tupperware headquarters. My recycling program will not take #7 or colored plastics or pastic not marked 1 or 2. I do not want to pitch in trash– might wind up in the ocean.

  37. tapan February 2, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    i was just curious to know if this renowned company is truely safe and BPA and microwave friendly ….like things….. I went through their website
    which said “As of March 2010, items sold by Tupperware US & CA are BPA free.”

    But then what about other countries,
    As Im from India, I thought what about me…….thought to write a mail

    buth the on search got ur experience…….

    I really cant believe tupperware

  38. Darla March 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    I have a lot of the Tupperware Modular Mates that I purchased in the late 90s or maybe the year 2000. I have noticed they all get sticky after awhile and noticed that macaroni and grains, etc. tasted awful after being stored in them. It made me wonder if things like baking soda, etc., also tasted like that but I didn’t notice since you use such a small amount of that type of thing. I’ve decided to store pretty much everything in glass. I do have some Rubbermaid containers that seem to do better than Tupperware. I paid so much for the Tupperware that I’m having a hard time throwing them away so I have them stacked up in the corner of my pantry and another stack in my garage. I really wish there was some explanation for the stickiness and the smell. I asked my TW consultant years ago about it and she said I must have them stored too close to heat. I know that’s not the case. I also wonder why Rubbermaid is cheaper, but does not seem to do that. It seems odd to me that Tupperware would have this problem.

  39. suzanne March 28, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    I just think that plastic is not a long term solution when it comes to food storage or preparation. Plastic breaks down over time and even if Tupperware doesn’t admit it – there is no way the stability of these products can be guaranteed for life.

  40. Lynne Kral June 13, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    I am purging my house of Tupperware and my husband is happy to use the containers in the basement and garage for storing all of his screws, nuts, bolts and other guy stuff. Maybe an idea for all of you who have trouble throwing things away.

  41. Colleen December 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    I have some Tupperware storage containers that are definitely outgassing, despite Tupperware saying their products don’t. A few larger containers are stored in a cupboard that is near the ceiling and above my oven. Note, it does not get HOT in that cupboard, but it is a little warm sometimes if I’m doing alot of baking. I started checking it alot after smelling chemical smells from a couple of containers. I am suspicious that even the amount of heat they are exposed to is causing the degradation. However I have others that are stored in a different cupboard no where near the stove or oven, that I also think are outgassing. Most recently, a batch of cookies were stored in Tuppperware Rectangular 1 storage container with seal. They now smell and taste so strongly of chemical or petroleum type odor, we are going to have to pitch about half the batch of cookies. The container shows no signs of heat damage, there is no discoloring, no warping, no pitting. Even after washing it, the chemical smell is pretty strong. Over the past year or so, I got rid of most of my microwave and polycarbonate Tupperware. I think the rest is going to have to go as well, and I have alot of it!!

  42. leah February 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm #

    i know this post was ages ago now, but in australia we have a great consultants who happily take your products to get replaced. also the recycling code 7 doesn’t always mean its bad especially in tupperware when the codes were made some of the plastics tupperware used hadn’t been made yet category 7 was for any of the other plastics and now any new plastics that are made have to go in that category

  43. Cheyann February 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Just the information I was searching for – thank you. I have Tupperware from the 1990’s with no symbols on them and have been wondering about their safety for the past several years. I will now find a way to recycle or repurpose them for non food items.

  44. Michele March 3, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    I just purchased Tupperware from 4 parties my friends volunteered to hostess. I noticed that all my clear Tupperware storage containers – modulars and cereal storage all have a Target plastic bin off-gassing smell. I soaked them in dishsoap water for 24 hours and left them sit to air out for 4 days. No smell. Then I replaced the lids and let them sit for 3 days. Chemical smell is back. Not sure how to get rid of it but my daughter has chemical sensitivities and I definitely can’t use them.

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