Different types of plastic trays are used for food service and storage, including those made from melamine, polycarbonate, polypropylene, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and a co-polymer blend. These trays range in temperature tolerance, stain resistance, durability and usage options.
Plastic trays made of melamine are durable and stain-resistant. Melamine is able to withstand temperatures ranging from 0 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Both food service and storage trays made of this material are dishwasher safe, but melamine should not be used in microwaves. Melamine bowls and household storage trays are offered in a variety of colors and patterns.
Polycarbonate is moderately stain-resistant and has a high resistance to breakage, but it scratches easily. Plastic trays made from this material are used in food service or household storage. Polycarbonate trays withstand temperatures from -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, making them ideal for use in freezers, dishwashers, microwaves and other low-temperature and high-temperature atmospheres.
Plastic trays made from polypropylene are virtually stain-resistant and have very low rates of breakage and scratches. These trays can be exposed to temperatures between 32 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit, making them microwave and dishwasher safe. Food service establishments tend to use polypropylene trays over melamine because the material offers comparable durability at a lower cost.