Monthly Archives: December 2017

Modified Atmosphere Packaging: 5 Helpful Facts

Worried about shelf life? If you are in the specialty food industry, extending shelf life is probably something you think about every day. Modified atmosphere packaging is a solution that might be exactly what you need to preserve and protect your food product, keeping it fresh for as long as possible. Here are a few quick facts about this type of packaging.

1. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Keeps Oxygen Out
While oxygen is essential for humankind, its effect on food products is not quite as positive. By removing oxygen from a package, you can extend the shelf life of that item by days or weeks. In addition to keeping oxygen out, other gases are added to further preserve the look and quality of the food item. For instance, carbon dioxide might be added as a preserving gas or perhaps nitrogen.

The type of gas that is used in your packaging will depend upon the type of food product that you sell. For instance, dried food products such as pasta or dried fruit as well as fresh fruit and vegetables will be treated with nitrogen. Fresh pasta, soft cheeses, cooked meats, raw oily fish and raw poultry as well as ready-made meals might be treated with a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Bakery goods and hard cheeses might need only carbon dioxide to help extend their shelf life and freshness.

2. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Is Not New
While advancements in modified atmosphere packaging are being made all of the time, this idea behind this type of packaging is not a new one. In the 1930s, carbon dioxide was pumped into food storage rooms on ships to prolong the life of fruits and vegetables. The first modified atmosphere packages hit store shelves back in the 1970s, primarily to prolong the life of different cuts of meat. Today, of course, we use modified atmosphere packaging for a much wider variety of fresh and dried foods.

3. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Works For Many Products
While you might associate modified atmosphere packaging with products such as hamburger, steak and other raw meat and poultry, it can be used for many other products. This includes luncheon meats and cured meats, seafood, hard and soft cheeses, grated cheeses, fresh and dried pasta and all types of vegetables and fruits. Pre-packaged sandwiches and ready meals also can be preserved with this type of packaging, and even some bakery goods.

4. The Added Costs Can Be Well Worth It
While using modified atmosphere packaging can be a pricier option at the outset, allowing foods to enjoy a longer shelf life can be cost-saving in general. After all, if your meat once had a shelf life of just five days and we could double that time or extend it even further, then you have the opportunity to sell your product for a longer stretch of time. Additionally, with the extended shelf life, you can ship your product further than ever before, extending your market.

5. Modified Atmosphere Packaging Is A Healthier Choice
Modified atmosphere packaging is a healthier choice for the consumer as well as for the planet. This type of packaging reduces food waste, which a huge benefit. Additionally, with modified atmosphere packaging, the use of artificial preservatives is not as necessary, which makes your product a healthier option for consumers.

If you are interested in learning more about modified atmosphere packaging as well as our many other specialty foods packaging options, give the team at Indepak at call at any time. Since 1967, we have served the specialty food market by providing high-quality custom packaging and thermoform trays.

Thermoform Molding: Understanding The Process

As the word “thermoform” might suggest, thermoform molding is a process by which heat is used to help form and mold various types of packaging and products. At Indepak, we have been providing thermoform molding services since 1967, and here’s a quick look at our process.

Obviously, it all begins with a customer and an idea. Each customer discusses their packaging needs with our design team which then gets to work on formulating a design and creating a prototype. Once this prototype has been approved, we get to move on to the production process, where the fun really begins.

During the design process, we create highly intricate molds of your packaging and these are what will be used to form your package. After molds have been created and our thermoforming equipment has been set for your project specifications, we will feed thin sheets of thermoform plastic into these machines. Our equipment can thermoform rigid materials from .008 inches to .080 inches and foam materials from 1/6 inches to ¼ inches.

Once sheets are fed into the thermoform molding equipment, they are heated to a specific temperature. The temperature we use depends upon the material being fed into the machine as different types of thermoform plastic require different levels of heat in order to reach a point of malleability. Once that temperature is reached, the plastic materials can be molded. Typically, either vacuum forming is used or pressure forming. Vacuum forming, as the name suggests uses the force of vacuum to remove the air between the plastic sheet and the mold. With pressure forming, you use the force of vacuum as well as applying extra force to “push” the plastic into the molds.

Vacuum forming is an excellent option if your package design is fairly simple and straightforward and quite cost-effective, especially for smaller production runs. Pressure forming is an option more suitable for more complex designs and larger production runs. We will come up with an option that fits your packaging needs, as well as your budget. Once the package or product has been formed, the plastic is cooled and any excess packaging is trimmed away. This excess plastic will be used for future projects, and it is always our goal at Indepak to recycle and reuse whatever we can.

What We Can Create
Our facility includes multiple lines of high-speed thermoform equipment allowing us to create packaging and products for a myriad of unique clients. We can design all sizes and shapes of blister packaging, including trap blisters, full card blisters and face seal blisters. We also can design all types of clamshell packaging, including tri-fold clamshells, which can be hung from pegs or can stand on shelves, providing you with ultimate flexibility. Additionally, we can provide you with any type of thermoform tray you might need as well as providing combination designs that incorporate plastic materials along with foil, paperboard and pulp. Our equipment can handle a wide range of materials, including some starch-based biomaterials, and virtually all of the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable.

Why Choose Thermoform Molding?
Thermoform molding is one of the most inexpensive options for custom packaging. Not only are the materials we use inexpensive, they also are highly protective and very lightweight. Thermoform plastics can protect your product from moisture, tampering and are quite impact resistant. Their light weight benefits the consumer as well as helping to reduce your shipping costs.

If you need custom plastic packaging, the team at Indepak has been using thermoform molding to create packaging for 50 years. Give us a call today and we will get started on your unique packaging project.

Wholesale Packaging: 4 Easy Ways To Cut Costs

Every product deserves a great package, but you also don’t want your packaging expenses to eat up your budget. At Indepak, we’ve compiled some simple ways to reduce the costs associated with your wholesale packaging, including the following:

1. Use Inexpensive Materials
At Indepak, we use a wide range of thermoform plastics to create wholesale packaging. One of the perks of using thermoplastics is the cost, as these materials are some of the most affordable packaging materials available. Our thermoforming equipment can process materials such as PET, PETG, ABS, PVC, HDPE and even starch-based bioplastics to name a few. This allows us to meet the packaging and budgetary needs of a wide range of clients from many different industries, including the food & beverage industry, medical & pharmaceutical industries and the electronics industry. We also can design affordable packaging for virtually any retail product, from tools to office supplies to personal care items.

2. Use Lightweight Materials
Thermoform plastics are not just affordable materials, they also are very lightweight. Heavier materials cost more to ship, and shipping costs easily eat up your budget, so it just makes sense to look for the lightest materials possible. Using lightweight materials as well as lightweight protective packaging materials, such as packing peanuts, plastic air pillows or bubble wrap can help keep shipping as affordable as possible.

3. Reduce Your Packaging Size
With the use of thermoform plastic materials, your wholesale packaging doesn’t have to be huge in order to be highly protective. Many thermoform plastics are very strong, which eliminates the need to create excess packaging. When you use fewer materials to create your packaging, this automatically saves you some money. With smaller packaging, you can ship more units per box, which also can reduce your shipping costs. Our team of designers will look for creative ways to create packaging that uses as little material as possible while still protecting your product and displaying it in an attractive way.

4. Improve Your Shipping Strategies
Aside from reducing packaging sizes and packaging weight, there are a few other ways to reduce your shipping costs. At Indepak, we can help by offering you packaging fulfilment, inventory management and shipping services. In this way, we provide a total solution for each of our clients, from product design to shipping. Using just one company for multiple services can help you save time and money.

If you wish to handle shipping yourself, consider getting quotes from multiple shipping companies and shopping for a company that offers competitive rates with reliable service. Consider being flexible about shipping times, as well. For instance, you might normally send out shipments during normal business hours, but so do hundreds of other companies. If you can ship out your product early in the morning or later at night, this can save money.

Once you settle on a shipping company, be sure to maximize your costs with that company. For instance, you might either consider using their packaging materials or ensuring that your packaging material won’t incur dimensional fees simply because they are a slightly different size than the packaging used by your shipping company. After all, actual weight and dimensional weight are two completely different kettles of fish. Do whatever you can to reduce both the actual and dimensional weights of your product and you will save money.

Another tip to consider would be to invest in third-party insurance. While a shipping carrier might provide insurance, this can be more expensive than simply finding an independent insurance company to cover the cost of your items, particularly if you product is an expensive item.

If you need wholesale packaging, the team at Indepak is here to help. We can design any size or shape of packaging that you might need for just about any product imaginable. Our goal is to consistently provide our customers with high-quality packaging on time and on budget, and we will do our best to help you reduce your wholesale packaging costs.

Compostable Packaging & Composting Facts

If you are searching for sustainable packaging options, one possibility you might consider would be compostable packaging. This can be a very eco-friendly choice, however, it is one of the newer sustainable options available to manufacturers, so many people don’t know a lot about compostable packaging or compostable materials in general.

Before we delve into the world of compostable packaging, many people are confused about the differences between biodegradable packaging and compostable packaging. In some cases, biodegradable packaging might be compostable, but this is not always true. Some biodegradable packaging must be sent to a special facility where it undergoes a biodegradation process.

Compostable packaging is packaging that will break down or biodegrade, but compostable indicates that your packaging probably can be placed in curbside green waste containers along with other compostable materials. Neither biodegradable packaging nor compostable packaging can be placed in standard recycling bins nor should they go into a landfill. Neither of these types of packaging can break down, or biodegrade, in a landfill, as the conditions in landfill are not conducive to the process of biodegradation.

There are many exciting advancements being made in the world of compostable packaging. For instance, one company is developing compostable plastic film that will biodegrade when it is placed with other organic waste in a compost bin or at a composting facility. This plastic film can be used to make grocery bags, plastic wrap and other similar items. Interestingly enough, this plastic film is derived from petrochemical polymers and not natural materials, as you might think.

Some starch-based bioplastics are compostable and can be an excellent option for your custom plastic packaging. There are many benefits to using these types of plastics, particularly if you select compostable varieties of bioplastic. For instance, these plastics are made using renewable sources, they do biodegrade if placed in a composting facility, and they still produce a quality product.

A few of the most common types of bioplastics include items made from bamboo, hemp or perhaps polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from sources such as sugar cane or corn starch. Again, not all of these materials, even those that are plant-based, are compostable.

In addition to compostable packaging, many other items are compostable and often can be placed in a curbside green waste bin. Most people with green waste bins understand that grass clippings, leaves and some plants can be placed in these bins, but there are many other items that should be placed in these bins and kept out of landfills.

For instance, any vegetable or fruit scraps you might have can go into the green waste bin. Cardboard, such as pizza boxes, often can be placed in these bins. Cooked rice or pasta and stale bread all can be placed in a green waste trash can. Coffee grounds and loose leaf tea also can be placed in these bins. Beyond that, every community seems to have different rules and restrictions regarding green waste, and consumers are encouraged to go online and check out their local regulations.

If you are interested in learning more about compostable packaging and what your options might be, give us a call at Indepak. In addition to offering starch-based bioplastics, we also might have several other sustainable options that might be of interest to you.

Barrier Packaging: 4 Facts You Need To Know

The use of barrier packaging has grown exponentially over the last few years and this growth definitely is expected to continue. Barrier packaging can be an excellent option for many of our customers, and at Indepak we provide clients with a wide range of packaging options. For those unfamiliar with this type of packaging, here are a few helpful facts.

1. Barrier Packaging Can Be Used For Many Products
While we often see barrier packaging used with food products, many other products can be placed inside these packages. This includes items such as detergent and many beauty and personal care items. Stand-up barrier packages are quite popular these days and can be used to hold almost anything, from solids to liquids.

2. Barrier Packaging Protects & Preserves Your Product
Because barrier packaging often is associated with food products, many people assume that one of the main benefits of using this type of packaging is its ability to inhibit oxidation. While this is certainly true, barrier packaging also can protect your product from other gases that can affect the product as well as from moisture and mold. Additionally, many types of barrier packaging are resistant to UV light, which also can affect the appearance of your product and, if it’s a food item, even the taste can be affected if exposed to UV light.

3. Barrier Packaging Is Lightweight
There are many reasons to consider using thermoform plastics for your packaging, and the light weight of these materials certainly is a factor. Barrier packaging is particularly lightweight, which reduces your shipping costs, while still protecting your product from damage and contamination.

4. Barrier Packaging Can Be An Eco-Friendly Choice
Many people worry that barrier packaging cannot be recycled, but this is usually not the case. Just as with all other types of plastic packaging, the materials used to create the packaging dictate whether or not the item can be placed in a recycling bin. Some materials, such as PET and HDPE, are accepted by most curbside recycling programs, but many other materials can be recycled, as well.

While we strongly recommend that consumers recycle everything they possibly can, we know that many people do still toss plastic packaging into the regular trash bin. One advantage of barrier packaging is that, while it should be recycled, it does take up far less space in a landfill than other types of plastic packaging as well as items such as glass jars or aluminum containers.

If you are interested in barrier packaging or any other type of plastic packaging, don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time. We have been a leader in the custom packaging industry for more than 50 years, and create an innovative design that fits your product needs and budget.

Plastic Packaging: 5 Tips For Proper Recycling

At Indepak, virtually all of our plastic packaging can be recycled. While some items can just be tossed into the recycling bin, other items need to be handled a bit differently. Here’s a quick list of recycling tips that might help you learn the best ways to ensure that your recyclables are handled correctly.

1. Look At The Numbers
All thermoform plastic packaging and bottles should have a number surrounded by a triangle somewhere on its surface. This number indicates the type of plastic that was used to create the packaging. Most curbside recycling programs will accept plastics that feature a number 1 or number 2, but many larger cities and metro areas will accept plastics number 1-7. Your recycling trash bin might have information stamped on it, letting you know which plastics are accepted. Otherwise, head to the website of your refuse company to find out which plastics are allowed in the bins.

2. Make Recycling Easier
Whether you own a home or a business, there are ways to make it easier for your family or co-workers to recycle. Place two trash bins in your kitchen and label on for trash and one for recyclable items. You can even go further and have two trash cans and a covered bin for compostable materials, such as vegetable scraps, egg shells, loose leaf tea, coffee grounds, stale bread, peanut shells, cooked pasta and much more. You can either create compost to use in your yard and garden or toss these items in your green waste trash can.

For businesses, you can set out several recycling bins and label these bins so that people know what items can be recycled, such as plastic or glass bottles, copy paper, cardboard and other recyclable items. If you aren’t sure what items can be recycled, we again recommend that you go to your local refuse company’s website, and this should have all of the information you need.

3. Think Beyond Your Kitchen
Many homeowners keep their trash bins in the kitchen, which makes a good deal of sense. After all, the kitchen generates quite a bit of waste. But when you think about what can be recycled, don’t forget to think about items such as detergent and shampoo bottles, liquid soap containers and other items from the laundry room and bathrooms in your home. There’s plastic packaging in most rooms of our homes, so be sure to recycle items from areas beyond the kitchen.

4. Your Local Stores Can Help
Many items, such as plastic grocery bags, bread bags, zipper bags and the plastic wrap that surrounds multiple plastic water bottles, can be recycled. Many stores, especially grocery stores, will collect these bags and plastic film items and send them to special facilities where they can be recycled. Collect these items in a box or paper bag and drop them off at your local store once per week. These plastic film items should not be placed in your general recycling bin.

5. Avoid The Landfill
Plastic packaging obviously is not the only substance that can be recycled. Items such as copy paper, newspaper, cardboard, glass and aluminum usually can be placed into your recycling bin. If you aren’t sure, do a bit of research to determine what can be recycled in your area. The goal is to reduce the amount of trash that is sent to our landfills, but, of course, there are some items that should not be disposed of in the recycle bin, the green waste bin or the regular trash bin. These include items such as electronics, light bulbs, batteries, motor oil and paint.

Many auto supply stores will take your old motor oil, and some paint stores will take old cans that still contain paint. For electronic waste, many communities will have special days when you can dump old computers, TVs and other e-waste for free at a specific location. Some communities allow you to throw used batteries and light bulbs into the regular trash bin, and some do not. Certain types of light bulbs, especially compact fluorescent bulbs, often must be taken to a special facility for disposal. Many retail stores these days, however, have places where you can drop off used bulbs and even batteries.

If you are in need of custom plastic packaging, we can help you find the most sustainable and eco-friendly options available. For more than 50 years, the team at Indepak has been committed to making quality plastic packaging as well as doing so in the most responsible and sustainable way possible.