Category Archives: Custom Product Packaging

Retail Product Packaging & 5 Facts About Sustainability

Retail product packaging and sustainability can go hand in hand, and while you might not immediately think about thermoform plastics as an option, these materials are more eco-friendly than you might imagine. At Indepak, our goal is to produce the highest quality packaging with the least environmental impact, so here are a few facts that highlight how we can create sustainable packaging options for you.

1. Less Is More
While some packaging materials might seem more eco-friendly, you often must use more of these materials to create a package that protects your product. With thermoform plastics, we can design a package that surrounds your product precisely, eliminating the need for excess packaging.

The light weight of thermoform plastics also should be factored into the overall sustainability of these materials. Because the items are lighter with less packaging, you can transport more units in a single shipment, which reduces the amount of energy needed for transportation.

2. Combination Designs Can Help
While we often create retail product packaging entirely out of thermoform plastic, we also can incorporate other materials into the design. We often create packaging that includes plastic as well as paperboard or pulp. For instance, there are many types of blister packaging that incorporate paperboard and plastic, and these blister packs are one of the most common types of retail product packaging. We can create many different blisters, including trap blisters, face seal blisters and more.

3. Using Post-Consumer Materials
When you talk about recycling, reusing and renewing, it is important to note that virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable, but we also offer the option of using renewed materials. We can create retail product packaging that includes post-consumer materials, and these materials are just as protective and strong as materials that have not yet been used by consumers.

4. Starch-Based Biomaterials Are An Option
Using renewable resources to create plastic has been around for some time, and we can create packaging using starch-based bioplastics. While these plastics are not suitable for use as packaging for every type of product, it might be an option for you and our equipment is capable of processing these eco-friendly materials.

5. Food Products & MAP: Keeping Foods Fresh
When we think about waste and sustainability in regard to packaging, we often simply think about the materials used for the packaging. But what about the product itself? If you need retail product packaging for any type of fresh specialty food, a longer shelf life can translate to less food waste. With modified atmosphere packaging, your specialty food item will stay fresh much longer than it would with conventional food packaging.

No matter what product you might have, Indepak can design custom retail product packaging that fits your needs and budget. We can design innovative packaging for office supplies, tools, beauty & cosmetic items, toys, batteries, specialty foods, electronics and much more. Our innovative design team is ready to help you at any time, so feel free to contact Indepak today.

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.

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.

Product Packaging: 4 Factors We Consider

When it comes to product packaging, we’ve had a lot of experience. In fact, we’ve spent the last 50 years providing customers with affordable, custom packaging. Our design team has worked with companies from virtually every industry to create innovative custom packaging. While the main purpose of any package is to hold a product, we understand there are many other factors that come into play, including the following.

1. Presentation
While there are many important aspects we consider during the creation of custom product packaging, an eye-catching design can make the difference between a consumer selecting your product in lieu of your competitor’s product. One benefit with thermoform plastics is that consumers easily can see your product, and we can display that product to its best advantage. Our team can create all types of thermoform plastic packaging, including clamshells, blisters, thermoform trays and containers with lids.

2. Protection
Thermoform plastics boast many properties that help to protect your product. For instance, many of the plastic materials we use are both shatterproof and impact-resistant. If your product is knocked off a shelf, the plastic product packaging will preserve your item far better than other types of packaging materials. Plastic product packaging also can be sealed to prevent moisture as well as tampering.

3. Cost-Containment
Keeping costs down is always a factor for any business, and using plastics for your product packaging is an ideal choice. Plastic materials are cost-effective for many reasons. In general, plastics are much more affordable than other types of packaging. As stated before, plastics protect your product, which reduces loss due to damage or theft. Plastics also are lightweight, which helps you reduce shipping costs. Because we can create smaller packages with plastic, this also allows you to ship more units per container, which further reduces your shipping and handling costs.

4. Sustainability
While the words plastic and sustainability might not seem like a natural match, virtually all of the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable. In some cases, we can create product packaging using post-consumer grade materials, starch-based bio plastics or perhaps a combination design that incorporates plastics with pulp or paperboard. Keep in mind, that the versatility of thermoforming allows us to create designs that use as small of an amount of materials as possible. We can create a blister pack or clamshell that surrounds your product precisely, eliminating the need for excessive packaging materials.

If you are in the market for product packaging, the team at Indepak is here to help. Contact us at any time and we can discuss your packaging needs. In addition to package design and product, we also offer package fulfilment services, inventory management and shipping services.

Custom Plastic Packaging: 5 Facts We Need To Know

While we write many articles providing helpful tips and facts about custom plastic packaging, sometimes we are ones who need information. Before you give us a call, we recommend that you compile some basic information about your project. Providing the following information will help provide us with a solid idea of exactly what type of custom plastic packaging you need.

1. Information About Your Product
During our first face-to-face meeting, our design team will be able to study your product in detail learning more about its design, construction and how best to display and protect the item or items. However, for our first phone call, we need to know some of the basic information about the product. For instance, what type of product do you have? Is it a food product? A tool? A battery?

Any details that you can provide about the product will be helpful, including the number of parts, the weight of each part, the size of the product and any special issues we need to address. For instance, perhaps you need packaging that is compliant for direct food contact or perhaps static or sterilization are issues that must be addressed. We have expertise in a variety of specialized markets, and our facility includes an array of thermoforming equipment to better help us meet the needs of each unique client.

2. Your Budget
Everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, and the good news about custom plastic packaging is that plastic is one of the most affordable materials on the planet. Not only are the materials themselves affordable, plastic is lightweight and we can design packaging that fits around your product precisely, eliminating excess wasteful packaging. This makes shipping easier and more affordable. Additionally, custom plastic packaging protects your product from moisture, tampering and other types of damage, all of which has a positive effect on your bottom line. Cost-containment is always a priority at Indepak. When you give us a call, let us know your budget and our team is sure to find a custom packaging solution that fits within these costs.

3. Project Timeline
During the initial phone call, give us an idea of when you need the project completed. Typically, you can expect that the development and design process will occupy the largest portion of your project’s timeline. Our expert designers work closely with customers throughout the design process to create innovative custom plastic packaging. Once designs and prototypes have been approved, our multiple lines of quality, high-speed thermoforming equipment will have your project completed as quickly as possible.

4. Types Of Materials You Prefer
Because we have a variety of equipment, we can process many types of rigid and foam materials. Our equipment can thermoform rigid materials from .008” to .080” in thickness, and foam materials from approximately 1/16″ to ¼”. We use many thermoform plastic materials, including ABS, HDPE, HIPS, OPS, PET, PETG, PP, PVC and even some starch-based bio materials.

Typically, cost, product requirements and sustainability are the three biggest factors a customer considers when selecting a material. Virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable, and we also often create combination designs, such a plastic and pulp or plastic and paperboard.

5. Additional Services You Might Need
In addition to designing and producing custom plastic packaging, we also offer many additional services, including package fulfilment. For instance, if you need RF welding or heat sealing, we have several sealing options. We also offer inventory management, and our facility includes 50,000 feet of warehouse space. We can create an inventory management system just for you.

If you need custom plastic packaging for any industry, contact Indepak today. We have been creating innovative packaging, parts, trays and much more since 1967, and we look forward to working on your project.

50 Plastic & Plastic Packaging Facts From Indepak

When we opened our doors back in 1967, the Beatles were singing about Sgt. Pepper, movie tickets cost $1.25 and the world’s first heart transplant operation was performed. While much has changed since during the last 50 years, our commitment to crafting the highest quality plastic packaging has remained the same. In honor of our 50th anniversary, we’d like to share 50 facts about plastic, plastic packaging and our services.

1. The First Manmade Plastics Were Bio-Based
We’ve been using natural plastics and rubber for hundreds of years, but the first official manmade plastic was introduced in the 1860s. Known as Parkesine and named for its inventor Alexander Parkes, this plastic was made from cellulose, a natural material.

2. Polyethylene Terephthalate Is The Most Widely Used Plastic
Polyethylene Terephthalate is a mouthful, so we just call it PET and this type of plastic is perhaps the most widely used thermoform plastic. You can create many types of plastic packaging with PET, and it is the source for most of the plastic water bottles we use.

3. PET Can Be A Fabric
While PET is an excellent option for many types of plastic packaging, it also is used to make fabric. We don’t call this fabric, PET fabric, it’s better known by the name polyester.

4. Each Plastic Has A Code
If you look on plastic packaging or plastic, you may see a triangle of arrows with a number inside. These numbers are known as resin identification codes, and they are put on packaging and bottles so that recycling centers can sort these materials. Currently, there are seven different resin codes for thermoform plastics.

5. PET Is Easy To Recycle
Of all the different thermoform plastics available, PET is one of the easiest for consumers to recycle. Its resin identification code is 1, and virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States accept PET.

6. High-Density Polyethylene Is Easy To Recycle
Along with PET, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is also one of the easiest plastic materials to recycle. HDPE features a resin code of 2, and most recycling programs also accept HDPE as well as PET.

7. Clamshells Are Blisters
You might read that statement several times and have no idea what we are talking about. Blisters are a common type of plastic packaging that we create, and these often have paperboard backings. However, a blister pack can be folded onto itself with a hinge at one end. When we do this, we call this package a clamshell.

8. Plastics Can Save Lives
Plastic stents are used during heart surgery to open up blockages in coronary arteries. In fact, some of these stents actually dissolve over time, helping improve the condition of a heart and then just disappearing.

9. Tennis Balls Are Plastic
It might surprise you to learn that tennis balls are made of PET, and often recycled PET that was once used for water bottles and milk jugs.

10. Golf Balls Are Plastic, Too
Plastic is stronger than you might think, and golf balls are certainly proof of that fact. These plastic balls can withstand the punishment of irons and woods repeatedly, with very little damage.

11. Thermoform Plastics & Thermoset Plastics
While these two “thermos” words might sound similar, they are quite different. Both are formed by heating up plastic, but thermoform plastics can be reused and recycled. Thermoset plastics cannot be recycled, but are useful for making car parts, computers and many other items.

12. Plastic Is Used As A Slang Term
The word plastic is commonly used in place of the words credit card or money, but it also can be used to describe a person who is shallow. The “shallow” usage sprang up during the 1960s, and was often used by the hippie and beatnik crowds.

13. PET Can Be Transformed Into Helpful Items
When PET is recycled, this thermoform plastic can be transformed into many helpful items, including upholstery, clothing, stuffed animals, toys, carpet and much more.

14. HDPE Also Can Be Transformed
As we stated before, PET and HDPE are accepted by most curbside recycling programs. When recycled, HDPE can be used to make plastic lumber, benches, liners for truck cargo bins and more.

15. PVC Was An Accident
Many substances were discovered accidently. PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride was discovered once in 1835 and then again in 1872, although neither of the chemists that discovered PVC utilized their discovery. It wasn’t until the 1920s that PVC became a commonly used plastic.

16. PVC Is Used For More Than Pipes
Most of us think about PVC as a material used to make water pipes, and this certainly is one application. However, it also can be used to make tents and tarps and different types of clothing.

17. You Can Visit “Plastic City”
Every city, no matter how large or small, tends to boast a nickname or two. Here in Portland, we are known as the City of Roses, and people visit here every year to enjoy the blooms at the International Rose Test Garden. However, if you were hoping to visit an official Plastic City, then you’d want to go a bit further east to Leominster, Massachusetts, which was well-known for its plastic industry.

18. There Once Was A Museum Dedicated To Plastic
If you wished to visit the National Plastics Hall of Fame, we are sorry to inform you that you have missed your chance. This hall of fame was an exhibit at the National Plastics Center & Museum located, not surprisingly, in Leominster, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this fascinating museum closed its doors in 2008, but we can always hope for a reopening.

19. Tupperware Transformed The World
Well, maybe not the world, but definitely the ease of food storage. Tupperware was introduced shortly after World War II, providing housewives with an opportunity to store food safely and easily, as well as a great excuse to have a party. In fact, Tupperware is still mainly sold via Tupperware parties or through consultants.

20. Bubble Wrap Isn’t Just For Fun
We all know that Bubble Wrap wasn’t invented simply to provide children with hours of fun, the original purpose was to serve as packaging for some of the first computers way back in the early 1960s. Bubble Wrap is actually a brand name, but much like Kleenex and Band Aid, we tend to use the name generically, even though it is a trademarked term.

21. Plastic Flamingoes Are An Official Bird
Many cities and all of our states feature an official bird. In Portland, our official bird is the Great Blue Heron. In Madison, Wisconsin, the official city bird is the plastic flamingo. Apparently, this distinction derives from an incident that occurred in 1979, when a group of pranksters placed more than 1,000 of these plastic birds in front of the Dean’s Office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

22. Teflon Was An Accident
Roy Plunkett was a legendary American chemist. During his time at DuPont, one of his tasks was to create a new type of Freon, which is a gas used for refrigeration. As he experimenting with various compounds, he accidently hit upon the formula for Teflon. This was not the first time, or the last, when a chemist searching for solutions to one problem, ended up finding solutions for another problem.

23. Plastics Protect Our Police & Soldiers
Kevlar, another item developed by the chemists at DuPont, was first used in the tires of racecars. However, it later was found to be an excellent synthetic fiber for the construction of body armor. Kevlar is used to create helmets and vests for soldiers and police as well as other protective clothing.

24. Recycling Saves Energy
Did you know that recycling just one plastic water bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for more than five hours? While almost all of the materials we use are recyclable, our clients also can opt to use recycled materials for their thermoform plastic packaging.

25. We Use Many Types Of Plastic
At Indepak, we have a wide variety of thermoforming equipment which allows use to use many different types of thermoform plastics. Some of the plastics we use include HDPE, PET and PVC, which were mentioned earlier in this article. We also can use PP, ABS, HIPS, OPS and more.

26. We Use ABS Every Day
You could say that about a wide range of thermoform plastics, but if you work in an office and use a keyboard daily, chances are your keyboard is crafted from ABS, otherwise known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

27. Many Kids Use ABS Every Day, Too
ABS is used for keyboards as well as those face plates we place over wall sockets. However, the younger set uses colorful ABS blocks, better known as LEGOs, to build all manners of structures.

28. Polystyrene & Styrofoam
We use polystyrene for many plastic packaging applications, and this thermoform plastic is sometimes confused with Styrofoam, due to the similarity of the name. Styrofoam is a trademarked name for polystyrene foam, and while we do produce products using foam materials, there are other “varieties” of polystyrene that don’t have a foamy texture.

29. HIPS Is A Versatile Type Of Polystyrene
We use HIPS (high impact polystyrene) to make a number of items every year. This particular variety of polystyrene has many advantages. For instance, it is FDA compliant, which makes it an option for food packaging. It offers good impact resistance, so it is highly protective. It also is quite affordable, and that’s always a good thing.

30. Understanding The “Poly” In Thermoform Plastics
All of these chemical names can be a bit confusing, and the word root “poly” shows up a great deal. A few examples include high density polyethylene, low density polyethylene and polystyrene and polypropylene and on and on. Poly is a root that means “many” and from a chemistry perspective, it has to do with polymers, which are substances formed by many long chains of molecules.

31. Yogurt, Margarine & The Polypropylene Connection
If you enjoy eating yogurt for breakfast or spreading margarine on a slice of toast, chances are you have come into contact with polypropylene. This thermoform plastic, also known as PP, is used to make many types of plastic packaging, especially for the food and pharmaceutical industries.

32. There Are Plastic Organizations
If you love plastics as much as we do, you might be interested to learn that there are quite a few organizations out there for those of us in the plastics trade. For instance, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) is an international group that was founded in 1942. The Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP) is another organization. These are just two of the many organizations that benefit those of us in the plastics industry.

33. There Are Periodicals About Plastic
Just about any industry has its shares of handy periodicals, such as magazines, and the plastics industry is no exception. For instance, Plastics Technology is a monthly magazine that provides technical information about thermoforming, injection molding and other plastics processing. This is just one of several periodicals that might be helpful and informative to someone in our industry.

34. Vinyl Records Are Plastic
The very first vinyl record made its debut in 1946, and these new records were crafted from polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Prior to that, records were made from shellac, which is a natural resin secreted by a type of bug.

35. Is It Nylon Or Duparooh?
Nylon, is a synthetic polymer that is used for everything from hosiery to toothbrushes. This was one of the many plastics invented by the chemists of DuPont, who tossed around quite a few names for this polymer before settling on nylon. One of the options was Duparooh, which, sadly, stood for “DuPont pulled a rabbit out of a hat.” In the end, we are certain that they made the right choice as Duparooh stockings just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

36. Silly Putty – A Toy With Military Applications?
During World War II, rubber was in such high demand, that this substance was rationed. Rubber was needed for tires for military trucks and aircraft as well as for boots for soldiers. The government paid for chemists and scientists to discover new types of synthetic rubber. It was out of these experiments that Silly Putty was discovered. While it wasn’t quite what was needed to replace natural rubber, it became a beloved children’s novelty that is still enjoyed today.

37. Is Plastic Greek?
If you’ve ever watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” then you know the main character’s father was fond of showcasing that every word has its roots in the Greek language. Plastic is no exception, as this word comes from the Greek word plastikos, which basically means something that can be molded or shape. We certainly do mold and shape large amounts of thermoform plastic every day here at Indepak.

38. We Use Special Machines Known As Thermoformers
Our thermoformers can accomplish amazing things. Each machine can take a thin sheet of plastic and transform it into perfectly shaped plastic packaging. You can watch some cool Kiefel thermoforming machines in action on YouTube videos, and we highly recommend taking a look.

39. Bioplastics Are A Sustainable Option
If you are searching for sustainable plastic packaging, we have many options for your consideration. Bioplastics are becoming all the rage and these plastics are created from renewable resources, typically some source of plant-based starch. There are also bio-based plastics which contain both renewable resources and synthetic plastics.

40. Plastic Resists Mold
One great reason to consider using thermoform plastics is that many of these materials are resistant to mold and fungi. You can preserve food from spoiling and protect products from damage using these certain types of mold-resistant plastic.

41. Plastic Is Collectible
As stated earlier in this article, there are thermoset plastics and thermoform plastics. One of the first thermoset plastics was known as Bakelite, and was used to create plates, radios, jewelry and toys among other things. Today, Bakelite items are highly collectible bits of memorabilia, and most Bakelite items were created from the 1920s to the 1940s.

42. Plastics Are Used For 3D Printing
The filaments that you use to create projects with 3D printers are all thermoform plastics. The most common materials used to make filaments are polylactic acid (PLA) and ABS (the plastic that is used for LEGOs).

43. Glue Is Now Horse-Free, But Not Plastic-Free
In the past, the connective tissues of animals such as horses, was an ingredient in school glue. Today, we use manmade polymers to create glue, specifically polyvinyl acetate. So, these days, no horses were harmed to make your second grader’s delightful art projects.

44. Portland Is A Leader In Recycling
Our fair city of Portland has long been a leader of environmentalism, and we take recycling very seriously. In fact, more than 70% of all recyclable materials in Portland are recycled and kept out of landfills. Only San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose have higher recycling rates. At Indepak, we are a low waste organization and we recycle everything we possibly can recycle.

45. Recycling Can Help You Earn Cash
Every time you purchase a plastic water bottle, you pay a deposit fee. This fee, usually five cents, is a small incentive to get you to recycle that bottle. While recycling one or two bottles might not seem like a great way to make money, if you collect all your bottles and cans and turn them into a recycling center, you can collect a good amount of money. In fact, one boy in Southern California has recycled more than 200,000 bottles and cans, raising more than $1,600 for charity.

46. There Are Packaging Awards
If you design plastic packaging, you can win awards for these designs. DuPont, for example, presents awards each year for manufacturers who have created especially innovative packaging designs. Everything from soda bottles to milk cartons to toothpaste containers can be judged and possibly win an award.

47. There Are Plastics On The Moon
During the course of space exploration, both Russia and United States left a variety of artificial objects on our moon. For instance, the lunar module for the Apollo 11 space mission used plastic film coated with aluminum to insulate the spacecraft. This lunar module, plastic and all, still rests peacefully in the Sea of Tranquility.

48. We Create Plastic Packaging & Products For Many Industries
Our long list of customers includes companies from the specialty food industry, the medical & pharmaceutical industry, the agricultural industry, the electronics industry and retail manufacturers just to name a few.

49. We Can Create All Types Of Plastic Packaging
The team at Indepak can create virtually any type of thermoform plastic packaging that you might need. This includes clamshells, blisters, multi-folds and thermoform trays for a wide range of industries.

50. Plastic Packaging With A Total Solution
In addition to designing and producing all types of plastic packaging, trays and other products using thermoform plastics, we also offer several additional services to provide each of our clients with a total solution. We can help you with sealing, fulfilment, inventory management and shipping. At Indepak, we’ve been creating quality plastic packaging for 50 years, and are looking forward to another 50 years (and beyond) of creating packaging for our clients.

6 Essential Custom Food Packaging Facts

If you are in the market for custom food packaging, thermoplastics can be one of your best options. Not only are many thermoplastics suitable for food storage, these materials are highly affordable as well. Read on to learn more about custom food packaging and your thermoplastic options.

1. Several Thermoplastics Are Safe For Food
When we create custom food packaging for our clients, we select thermoplastic materials that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for food contact. Some of our food-grade thermoplastic options include polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). We also have some starch-based biomaterials that might be suitable for use with some food products. Oriented Polystyrene (OPS) is yet another option to consider, and our design team will provide you with the best options to suit your needs.

2. There Are Many Types Of Food Packaging
Our facility is stocked with multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment. This allows us to meet the needs of many different clients. For our specialty food customers, we can create custom clamshells, tubs, thermoform trays, containers with or without lids and much more.

3. Combination Designs Are An Option
In some cases, your best option is a design that incorporates more than one material. For instance, for a microwavable dinner, you might need a sealed thermoform tray with a cavity for each food item. From there, this meal will be packaged in a paperboard container. We often create thermoform trays that will later be placed into other pieces of packaging, such as trays that hold cookies or crackers or the aforementioned frozen meals. We can create custom trays with or without lids, depending on what you might need.

4. Thermoplastic Food Packaging Is Easy To Recycle
Virtually all of the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable, and our custom food packaging is no exception. In fact, thermoplastics such as PET and HDPE are two of the easiest materials to recycle, as most curbside recycling programs accept both of these materials.

5. Thermoplastics Provide Top Protection At A Reasonable Price
Thermoplastic food packaging is one of the most affordable options for specialty food companies, but it’s not just the price of the packaging materials that saves you money. Because thermoplastics are tamper-resistant and strong, your products are well protected and preserved, which means that fewer units can be damaged. Aluminum and glass can preserve food items, but these materials are more easily damaged.

Additionally, thermoplastics are lightweight, which lowers your shipping costs. Because we design packaging that fits around your food products perfectly, we can eliminate excess packaging, and this means more units can be shipped per box, which also lowers shipping costs.

Creating custom food packaging is one of our areas of expertise, and over the last 50 years, we have served hundreds of clients in the specialty foods industry. Our expert team of designers is ready to create any type of packaging you might need, so give us a call today and let’s get started on your custom food packaging project.

Customized Packaging: 4 Great Design Options

When we design customized packaging for our clients, we focus on many factors. For instance, we concentrate on creating a packaging design that protects your product and fits within your budget. But we also understand that the design must appeal to the consumer. There are many different types of customized packaging to consider, including the following.

1. Clamshells
Clamshells can be an excellent option for many products, and we create thousands of clamshells throughout the year. A clamshell features two halves connected by a hinge, and we can create virtually any size clamshell you might need.

For instance, small clamshells might be suitable for holding items such as nails, thumbtacks and other tiny items. Larger clamshells can be used to hold specialty foods, such as produce and baked goods, but also retail goods such as glue sticks, headphones, razors, computer cables and almost anything else you can imagine. We also can seal these clamshell packages for you using processes such as heat sealing and RF welding.

2. Blisters & Trap Blisters

Blisters are a very common option for retail customized packaging. A blister is similar to a clamshell, but it doesn’t feature a hinge. Instead we seal the two halves of the package together to form a tight bond that protects your product from moisture and tampering. This can be an excellent option for many retail products from toys to electronics to tools and much more. If you product includes multiple parts, we can design blister packs with cavities that fit each part perfectly, offering optimal protection.

Trap blisters are a type of blister pack that includes a paperboard backing and this can be an excellent option for your customized packaging. Using combination designs that include thermoplastic and paper or pulp are a very eco-friendly option, allowing you to reduce the amount of plastic you use while still protecting and displaying your product for consumers.

3. Thermoform Trays

Thermoform trays are an ideal option for many of our clients. For instance, we use these trays to hold items such as cookies, candy, crackers or frozen dinners for our many specialty food clients. For our medical clients, these trays can be used to hold various types of medical kits, with a specially designed cavity for each instrument or bottle of medicine. For retail clients, a tray can be created to hold all of the parts of your product, such as a dozen batteries or perhaps perfume bottles. Once the trays have been produced, these can be placed into other types of customized packaging, such as a sealed bag or perhaps a cardboard container or even a plastic blister or clamshell.

In addition to medical and food trays, our design and production teams are capable of creating a myriad of thermoform trays, including pick & place trays, shipping trays, part protection trays, dunnage trays, automation trays and more.

4. Tubs & Lids
Sometimes rather than opting for a clamshell, you might prefer to have us create tubs with removable lids. These can be used to hold many types of products, such as food items, but these tubs and lids might actually be the product you need rather than the container. For instance, perhaps you sell storage tubs with removable lids that are meant to hold a wide range of products. Not everything that we design is a package; we also create whole products and parts, so keep us in mind for your product needs as well as your custom packaging needs.

If you do need customized packaging for any type of retail or specialty food business, these are two of the areas in which we specialize. We also specialize in the design and production of custom packaging for electronics companies, industrial firms, pharmaceutical and medical companies and agricultural companies.

4 Keys To Better Retail Product Packaging

While you might have the highest quality product available on the market, it is important to understand that consumers often make purchases on an emotional level. Great retail product packaging can make the difference between someone purchasing your product or selecting the product of a competitor. As you start thinking about the design of your retail product packaging, it is wise to keep some of the following ideas in mind.

1. Catch The Eye

When consumers are looking for a product, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention. Visually stimulating retail product packaging creates a first impression that is sure to entice to consumers to pick up your product and check it out. Spend some time browsing through store aisles and make note of which packaging types instantly attract your notice.

Shelves often are lined with similar products, and this is why it is crucial that your retail product packaging stands out. Often a simple, uncluttered design makes the biggest impact. It also helps if consumers can see the product that they are purchasing, which is one of the advantages of selecting clear thermoplastic packaging.

2. Know Your Customer

When you design retail product packaging, it is always wise to think about your customer and create packaging that speaks to that customer. Every product has a target customer. For instance, you might be selling headphones and aiming at a market of teens and young adults. In this case, a youthful, hip packaging design can be a great way to grab the interest of your typical customer. You might be selling a power drill, and consumers purchasing this product are likely interested in quickly learning about the product’s features and durability.

3. Allow For Brand Development

Creating a great logo is always a good idea, as this builds your brand identity. Customers don’t always remember the name of your product or even your company, but they might remember your logo design. As you add new products to your line, customers will remember that they have purchased from your brand previously, and appreciate the quality of your product. Because they recognize the brand and the positive memories associated with the product, they will be far more likely to purchase from you again and try out your other products.

4. Waste Not, Want Not

There are many reasons to select thermoplastics for your retail product packaging. One compelling reason is that we can create thermoplastic package that fits your product exactly, eliminating the need for excessive packaging. Using less packaging decreases your packaging costs, as well as your shipping costs, as you can fit more products into each box or shipping container. In addition, consumers these days will appreciate your efforts to reduce the amount of packaging, thereby creating less waste. Of course, thermoplastic packaging also is recyclable, which is another plus for the environment.

If you need retail product packaging, the team at Indepak can help. For more than 40 years, we have been creating thermoformed packaging for clients in a myriad of industries, including retail companies, specialty food companies, electronics companies, pharmaceutical companies and much more. Our design team can create an affordable, durable package for your product that also captures the attention of your target consumer. Give us a call today to discuss your packaging needs.