Monthly Archives: June 2017

Packaging Companies & Bioplastics: What You Need To Know

Bioplastics. Biodegradable. Eco-Friendly. We hear these words all the time from our customers seeking the most sustainable packaging solutions. During the last few decades, packaging companies have been able to offer more and more sustainable options and Indepak is no exception. Here are some facts that will help you better understand the types of eco-friendly options you have for your packaging.

Bioplastics: What Does It Mean?
Bioplastics, in a nutshell, are plastic that are created using renewable, bio-based materials, such as starch. Using bioplastics reduces the need for fossil fuels, which is the source of most non-bio-based plastics. These days, everyone is looking for ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and searching instead for renewable options.

Biodegradable/Compostable/Recyclable: What’s The Difference?
People often mistakenly believe that all bioplastics will biodegrade or are compostable, but this is not always the case. Bioplastics are plastics that are either produced using bio-based content or plastics that are biodegradable or both. In some cases, your bioplastic might feature bio-based content, but it doesn’t biodegrade. In some cases, a bioplastic might be compostable, but this also is not always the case. And, in some cases, a bioplastic is not recyclable.

Biodegradable plastics are those which, over a given period of time, will biodegrade. Often people believe that biodegradable plastics can be placed in landfills, where they will break down over time, but this is not the case. These plastics must be disposed of separately from regular landfill trash. Just like all other types of plastic, biodegradable plastic should not be placed in a regular trash bin.

Compostable plastics are similar to biodegradable plastics in that these materials also will not break down if simply placed in a landfill. These types of plastics need to be taken to proper composting facilities and there are commercial composting facilities all over the United States that can process these materials.

Recyclable plastics include a wide variety of options. In fact, virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable. By using materials such as PET and HDPE, which are accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States, you make it easy for your customers to simply toss plastic packaging into a recycling bin, where it can be reused to make something else.

Other Sustainable Options
Packaging companies can create many distinct types of packaging using bioplastics, compostable plastics, recyclable plastics and biodegradable plastics, but this is not the only way to improve sustainability.

For instance, at Indepak, we can create combination designs that include plastic and paper or pulp, to reduce the amount of plastic needed for each package. We also can create packaging using post-consumer grade materials, which is another sustainable option you might consider.

Our design team also works diligently to ensure that we use the smallest amount material necessary to surround and protect a product and that we waste as little material as possible during the creation process.

To create plastic packaging, large thin sheets of thermoform plastic are fed into thermoforming equipment. The machines transform these sheets of plastic into your packaging, and the excess plastic, or web, is trimmed away. Our goal is always to create a design that reduces the amount of “web” produced. Of course, any leftover materials are immediately recycled and transformed into something else.

If you are searching for packaging companies that can provide you with sustainable options, the team at Indepak is ready to help. We are a low-waste operation in every part of our company. We are an ISO-certified company and consistently go beyond ISO 14001 requirements to ensure that we minimize our impact on the environment.

Food Packaging: Facts About Modified Atmosphere Packaging

In ancient times, preserving food was highly difficult, but as the years progressed, food packaging has evolved, keeping foods fresh and safe for days, weeks and even months. We create many different types of food packaging here at Indepak, and one option to consider would be modified atmosphere packaging.

Modified atmosphere packaging, or MAP, is an excellent option for fresh foods. This includes items such as fresh meat and processed meat (lunch meat, hot dogs, bacon, etc.), cheeses, fresh pastas, seafood, microwavable meals (AKA – TV dinners), fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and more.

How It Works
Creating this type of food packaging is a sophisticated process that involves matching the specific food item to a particular gas or a combination of gases. These gases work to preserve the food and provide manufacturers and consumers with longer shelf lives. The gas mixture depends entirely on the type of food that is being packaged. For instance, the gases used to preserve fruits and vegetables differ from those used to preserve a steak or hamburger.

It might surprise you to learn that this is not a new process at all. We have been using gases to ripen fruit and adding gases, such as carbon monoxide to large food storage containers, since the early 1930s. This allowed foods to be shipped great distances without spoilage. Today, the MAP production process is much more sophisticated, and we use other gases than just CO2, such as oxygen and nitrogen.

MAP Vs. Air-Packed
Freshness can be doubled and in some cases tripled with the use of MAP for your food packaging. For instance, raw fish might last only two or three days when air-packed, but with MAP, this shelf life can extend to more than one week. For items such as hard cheeses, you can extend the shelf life from about three weeks with an air-packed wrap to as long as perhaps nine or 10 weeks with MAP. Delicate items such as salad greens can increase their shelf life from a mere four of five days up to as much as 10 days or longer with MAP.

Your MAP Options
When we design food packaging, we pay attention to a wide variety of factors. It all begins by selecting materials suitable for food contact, and then we look at factors such as sealing reliability, oxygen permeability and puncture resistance to name a few. Our thermoforming equipment can process a myriad of materials, including those typically used for MAP.

At Indepak, we can create any size or shape of custom thermoform tray suitable for modified atmosphere packaging. In some cases, a simple tray with one cavity is all that is needed, but other products, such as microwavable meals or perhaps fruit and vegetable trays might need multiple compartments to separate each food item.

If you are interested in any type of food packaging, including modified atmosphere packaging, contact us at Indepak today. Since 1967, we’ve been a leader in the creation of packaging for the specialty foods industry and we can design an innovative packaging solution that meets your needs and budget.

Retail Packaging: 6 Crucial Facts About Plastic

In the world of retail packaging, a company has many material options to consider. Plastic is always a material worth considering, as it is a highly cost-effective choice. Not only are the materials quite affordable, the light weight can help reduce your shipping costs. If you aren’t convinced that plastics are the right fit for your retail packaging, read on and let us entice you to think about plastics.

1. Plastic Retail Packaging Can Be Environmentally Friendly
Virtually every material we use at Indepak is recyclable, and this includes our plastic retail packaging. Once your customer removes the packaging, the customer can simply toss the package into a recycling bin and it will be reused to make new packaging and products. While most thermoformed plastics can be recycled and reused, this is not the only positive about using these materials.

For instance, because of their lightweight, a truck or train car or ship can carry more units of your product per trip to stores across the county than if you used heavier packaging materials. This reduces the amount of fuel needed to transport goods and reduces pollution. Additionally, plastics are highly protective and we can create packages that surround your package precisely, eliminating the need for extra protective packaging. This reduces weight, but it also reduces the amount of materials needed for a package, which is always a good thing.

2. There Are Many Sustainable Options
Using combination designs the incorporate plastics as well as paperboard or pulp is one way to reduce the amount of plastics in your packaging. We also can create retail packaging that includes materials with recycled content. In some cases, starch-based bioplastics also can be considered.

3. Plastics Offer Unlimited Design Options
No matter what size or shape of retail packaging you might need, thermoform plastics can be formed into the shape you want. Not only can we craft packaging in any shape, we also can design options such as tri-fold clamshell packaging, which can stand by themselves on a store shelf. These clamshells also can be hung on retail hooks, providing you with the ultimate in versatility. This is just one option that you might consider for your unique retail product.

4. There Are Many Types Of Plastics
From PET to HDPE to PVC, retailers have a variety of materials to consider. Each type of plastic has its own unique set of characteristics. For instance, some plastics are ideal for storing different types of chemicals, while other plastics are a great option for holding static-sensitive materials. When it comes to retail packaging, there is no one-size-fit-all solution, and we consider many factors when selecting a material for a new client.

5. Plastics Are Cost-Effective
In general, plastic materials are the most affordable options for your retail packaging product and it’s not just because the materials are affordable, although that is certainly a factor. The light weight reduces your shipping costs, and the high level of protection provided by plastics reduces the probability of damage and tampering.

6. We Create All Types Of Retail Packaging
Our facility includes a wide variety of quality thermoforming equipment, which allows us to meet the needs of a wide range of clients. Whether your company produces office supplies or disposable razors or perhaps electronic accessories, we can create a retail packaging solution for you.

For some clients, we design trap blisters that include a paperboard backing while others prefer a sealed clamshell and still others might need a custom thermoform tray designed and then either sealed or placed into a clamshell package. We can create all of this and much more, so, if you have a retail packaging project, give us a call today.

Common Types Of Medical Packaging

Every year, the demand for medical and pharmaceutical packaging increases significantly. But, unless you work in a medical or pharmaceutical-related profession, you might not have given a thought to the types of packaging needed by these industries. Here’s a quick look at just a few of the diverse types of medical packaging that can be created.

Blister Packaging
Pharmaceutical companies often need blister packaging. Typically, these packages will include multiple cavities where a single dose or multiple doses of a medication can be placed and then the thermoform plastic will be covered with a secure backing to keep the medications safe from moisture and tampering. Typically, the backing material will be foil, although sometimes, a combination of foil and paperboard are used.

Pharmacy Bottles
Have you ever wondered by pharmacy bottles tend to be amber in color? While many other thermoform plastics are clear, allowing consumers to see various retail products, pharmacy bottles have to be light-resistant, which is why they feature that distinct amber color. Pharmacy bottles, which often are made out of polypropylene, can feature child-resistant caps or easy-off caps, depending on what your pharmacy customers might need.

Individual-Wrap Packages
You often see these types of medical packages used to hold single-use items, such as a syringe or perhaps a tongue depressor and various sterile swabs. Surgical instruments also can be placed in individual-wrap packages to ensure their sterilization until use. These individual-wrap pouches often are created from a material known as Tyvek®, which was developed by DuPont, although other materials also can be considered for these single-use packages. While the pouches are very thin and lightweight, Tyvek® is quite durable and tear-resistant, making it an excellent choice to protect any item that must remain sterile until the package is opened.

Medical Trays
At Indepak, designing custom thermoform trays is one of our areas of specialization. We can design medical trays to hold equipment, surgical instruments, vials of medicine, syringes and much more. These trays will feature cavities to design to hold each item securely and exactly. After we deliver the trays to you, these can be filled and sealed to ensure safety.

Consumer Items
Of course, there are many types of medical-related packaging that is designed and sold directly to consumers. This includes those handy multi-compartment pill boxes that help use organize our daily medications as well as containers that hold items such as contact lenses and dental retainers or dentures. Many different types of thermoform plastic can be used to create these items, such as polypropylene and polyethylene.

Our Services
Every industry has unique packaging specifications, but medical and pharmaceutical companies must meet or exceed extremely rigorous standards. Ensuring the safety of medications and medical equipment is essential, and if you need medical packaging, the team at Indepak has decades of experience working with medical and pharmaceutical firms.

Our design and production teams can craft low-particulate packaging, for both non-sterile and downstream sterilization applications. We provide you with detailed record keeping with traceability down to the box level. If you need medical packaging, give us a call today.

Electronic Packaging: 5 Facts About Thermoform Packaging

When it comes to packaging, every industry has unique needs and the electronics industry is no exception. The team at Indepak has worked with many electronics firms throughout the years and we believe that thermoform plastics are the ideal option for those needing custom electronic packaging and there are several reasons why, including the following.

1. Thermoform Packaging Protects Your Product
At Indepak, we work with thin-gauge thermoform plastics, but it would be wrong to assume that just because we use thin sheets of plastic, your product won’t be well-protected. Many thermoform plastics are highly impact resistant and moisture resistant. In addition, we offer many sealing options, to further insure that your product won’t be affected by moisture or tampering.

2. Thermoform Plastics Keeps Static-Sensitive Products Safe
While keeping products safe from moisture, tampering and other types of damage is important, many electronic products have high static sensitivity. At Indepak, we work with a myriad of materials, from conductive to dissipative, to ensure that your static-sensitive products are well protected.

3. Thermoformed Foam Is An Option
Our facility includes multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment, and these machines can process both thin-gauge thermoform plastics as well as thermoform foam. Foam packaging can be an excellent option for electronics because it is extremely protective and lightweight.

4. Thermoforming Packaging Is Versatile
Thermoform plastic is an ideal option because we can craft packaging that surrounds and protects your electronic parts or product exactly. For instance, you might consider having us design a thermoform tray with multiple cavities to hold individual components or parts. We also can create clamshells for each part and then package these clamshells in thermoform foam or a thermoform tray. These are just a few of the options that might be considered as we design your custom electronic packaging.

5. Thermoform Electronic Packaging Is Affordable
Everyone loves saving money, and using thermoform plastics or thermoformed foam can help you stay within your packaging budget. Thermoplastics are some of the most affordable packaging materials available, and thermoform plastics also save you money because of their light weight.

After all, lightweight packaging is cheaper to ship and shipping costs make up a huge portion of every manufacturer’s budget. Additionally, we can create packaging that perfect surrounds your product precisely, which eliminates packaging waste. You will be able to ship more units simply because we can create packaging that is as small as possible. Nearly all of the materials we use are recyclable, as well, so consumers should have no trouble recycling your packaging after they have purchased your product.

If you do need electronics packaging, give us a call today and we can get started creating a custom packaging solution for your unique electronic products.