Can I Ferment in a Plastic Container? – You Should Need to Know

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Fermentation is fun if you know the trick.

If you are a fan of food like kimchi, you must want to try to ferment it on your own. But which type of container should you use for fermentation? So, you might ask, “can I ferment in a plastic container?”

You can ferment food in a plastic container. But not every plastic container is safe for your health. Use those plastic containers that follow the pre-requisites to prepare appropriately for fermentation. Such as, it should contain acidic liquid without releasing or degrading any type of chemical.

For more information about these types of plastic containers, you have to follow the full article. We have covered many interesting facts and possibly all your answers on plastic containers. Let’s grab the information now. 

Can I Ferment In A Plastic Container?

Can I Ferment In A Plastic Container

Fermentation is an old traditional process of preparing food. But, one debatable issue still coming into mind is which type of container to use. Can you use a plastic container?

Well, there are many types of plastic containers available in the market. Some of them are food graded, and some of them are not.

Most plastic containers are not food graded and are harmful to your health. Because for fermentation, you have to put the foods in a container for a long time. And if the plastic container is not food graded, it might contaminate your food with chemical additives. 

Only food-grade plastic containers are safe for fermentation. Such as Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), Polyvinyl chloride, High-density polyethylene (HDPE), and also some other plastic-made containers are food grade. We will discuss them in detail later. 

So, if you ask, is it OK to ferment in plastic?

The answer is both positive and negative. It depends on the type of plastic. If it is food grade, it is totally OK to ferment in it. But, if the plastic is not food grade, it can be fatal for your health. These containers can lead to toxins, bacterial growth, chemical additives, bad odor, etc.

So, if you plan to use a plastic container for fermentation, ensure it’s food-grade.

Reasons Why You Should Avoid Plastic For Fermentation

Reasons Why You Should Avoid Plastic For Fermentation

What types of containers are not suitable for fermentation? If you still ask this, the answer is non-food-grade plastics.

Regular plastic-made containers can harm your health. But you may not accept the fact without valid reasoning, right? Then let us inform you about some fatal reasons why plastic should be avoided while fermenting food.

1. Plastic Containers May Contain Toxins

National Institutes of Health has found an ingredient named BPA (bisphenol A) in many old plastic products and containers.

Additionally, in scientific research in the early 2000s, scientists claimed that BPA hampers brain and reproductive development. Especially in children. It also increases the probability of breast cancer risk, obesity, and many other diseases like cancer.

Not only BPA but also BPS (bisphenol S) is also present in many plastics that we use in our daily life. BPS is toxic and causes the same diseases as BPA. 

2. Common Plastic Containers May Harbor Bacteria in Foods

What does fermentation actually mean?

The process of fermentation produces good bacteria that are helpful for your health and prevents any type of harmful bacteria. But when you use a regular plastic container and keep foods in it for a long time, this plastic may help produce some unwanted harmful bacteria. 

These harmful bacteria can ruin the quality of your fermented food, as well as they can cause food poisoning. 

4. You May Get Some Odd Odor

Plastic has an odd odor, which is unpleasant. When you are keeping your food to ferment in it, your food may absorb the odor and can ruin your appetite. 

5. Plastic Contains Chemical Additives.

Depending on the grade of plastic, it contains many chemical additives that are harmful to humans. These chemicals can cause dangerous health issues like infertility, hormone-related cancer, neurodevelopment disorders (autism or ADHD), liver cancer, etc. 

Which Plastic Container Can I Use For Fermentation?

Which Plastic Container Can I Use For Fermentation

Working with a large portion of fermented food is challenging to manage in a huge glass container. On the other hand, it is much cheaper and easier to get a plastic container.

So, you may insist on using a plastic container. And you already know that you can use food-grade plastic containers to ferment food. However, what container is best for fermentation?

Well, it is time to explore some great food-safe containers that may help you prevent wasting time searching for them randomly. 

Plastic Type

Product Name

Where to get it


Carlisle CM110002 Coldmaster ABS Standard Full-Size Food Pan, 15 qt. Capacity, 20.68 x 12.72 x 6.40″, White

To get the product Click Here


Rubbermaid Commercial Products (FG350900WHT) Food Storage Box/Tote for Restaurant/Kitchen/Cafeteria, 3.5 Gallon, White

To grab the product Click here


Pyrex Simply Store 18 Piece Meal Prep Storage Containers Set, Large and Small | Round and Rectangle Glass Food Storage Containers with Lids | Doesn’t Absorb Food Odors, Flavors, or Stains

To get the product Click Here


50 Pack Clear Favor Boxes 3.5″x3.5″ x3.5″, Cupcake Macaron Candy Apple Clear Gift Boxes, Plastic Transparent Cube Boxes for Christmas Wedding Baby Shower Party Decorations

To get the product Click Here


50-Pack Meal Prep Plastic Microwavable Food Containers For Meal Prepping With Lids 28 oz. 1 Compartment Black Rectangular Reusable Storage Lunch Boxes -BPA-Free Food Grade -Freezer & Dishwasher Safe

To grab the product Click Here

1. Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is by mixing butadiene, acrylonitrile, and polymers of styrene. You can use this type of plastic for fermentation. These plastic containers are totally food-grade and safe for your family. 

2. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is the perfect plastic for food contact. It is specially made for packing food and container. Many plastic kitchen appliances like cutting boards, milk jugs, cereal boxes, etc., are made of these types of plastics. As you can see, they are food-grade in the first place.

3. Polyetheretherketone (PEEK)

Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) has a very high dimensional stability for its high melting point. That means you can even cook food in the microwave using this plastic container. They are also light in weight and strong enough. PEEK is food-grade plastic and harmless. 

4. Acrylic (PMMA) 

Here comes the acrylic (PMMA) plastic we already use instead of glass. Because they are transparent as glass and good-looking for our kitchen, these plastics are non-toxic and food grade. Though it is limited to heat resistance, you can use this plastic to store your foods and ferment them. 

5. Polypropylene (PP)

The last one on the list is polypropylene (PP). This plastic is made of propene polymerization – light in weight and strong. It is one of the top-rated FDA-approved food-grade plastic.

PP has higher melting propane, but you should not use this plastic in the microwave as they are highly flammable. But, you can definitely ferment your food in this plastic container. 

How To Tell If A Container Is Food Grade Plastic

How To Tell If A Container Is Food Grade Plastic

We have just learned about food-grade plastic. But, how to tell if your plastic container is food-grade or not? 

You just need to check it. All you have to do is check the recycling symbol and should search for the label “food-safe.”

The very food-safe plastic is HDPE. and the symbol is #4. It is not enough; search if there is any label of food-grade. If you find them, just buy them.

There are also other food-safe symbols, such as 1, 4, and 5. They are applicable for PEEK, PMMA, and PP plastics. 

So, the three things you have to look for are 

  1. Logo/ Abbreviation of the plastic name
  2. Symbols (1, 4, and 5)
  3. Food-safe label.


  • Can I Ferment Kimchi in Plastic Container?

Yes, you can ferment kimchi in a plastic container. But you have to keep in mind that once you make kimchi in a plastic container, it is going to smell like kimchi for the rest of its life.

If you want to ferment some other foods or pickles later in that same box. So, better keep a different container only for kimchi. And always buy a food-safe container so that your kimchi quality stays unscratched. 

  • Can I Ferment Wine in a Plastic Container?

Actually, you can. But the experts say “no”. A plastic container may ruin the taste of wine.

However, wine is prepared through a two-step process.  Firstly, fermentation, and secondly, aging. For the first part, you can use a plastic container. But, do not leave it to age in a plastic container. It may produce some unwanted bacteria instead of good ones. 

  • How To Use Plastic Container For Fermentation?

Before using a plastic container for fermentation, you should remember some points.

  1. Always use a food-safe container. You can buy HDPE or PP material containers.
  2. Clean the container gently. Make sure there is no damage or scratches in the container. 
  3. After cleaning the container, sterilize it by soaking it in 3% hydrogen peroxide for 15 mins. Spraying 70% isopropyl alcohol solution will also do the job. 

Bottom Line

Fermentation means storing your ingredients for a long time in a container. Now, ceramic and glass are most suitable for fermentation: it’s well established. However, is there any alternative?

Can I ferment in a plastic container?

You can ferment your food in a plastic container. Just make sure you are using a food-grade plastic container. Otherwise, a regular plastic container may harm your health silently. 

Use quality products for your food and stay healthy.