Category Archives: Plastic Thermoforming

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.

Plastic Thermoforming & ABS: 5 Fast Facts About This Material

At Indepak, we use many different materials for our plastic thermoforming projects. One type of plastic we use is known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS. While many of our customers are familiar with plastics such as PET or PVC, they don’t always know a great deal about ABS, so we thought it would be worthwhile to share some facts about this thermoform plastic.

1. Each Letter Stands For A Monomer
In basic terms, a monomer is a molecule that is capable of bonding to other molecules in order to create a polymer. ABS is a polymer, and each of its monomers features properties that come together to form one tough plastic. Acrylonitrile, for instance, offers a high level of chemical resistance and ages well, while butadiene is tough and quite impact resistant. Styrene adds rigidity as well as an attractive glossy sheen. Mix these monomers together, and you’ve created a plastic thermoforming material suitable for many projects.

2. Your Kids Probably Love ABS
ABS often is used to create toys, most notably Lego blocks, which are some of the most popular toys on the planet. Many other toys also are crafted from this plastic. This material also is used to make items such as those plastic recorders young children play at school and other musical instruments, such as clarinets.

3. ABS Is Used In 3D Printers
The two most common types of filament used in 3D printing are PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS. ABS often is chosen because it is quite sturdy and durable. Typically, 3D projects made from ABS will last longer than those made from PLA. Additionally, once you’ve created something out of ABS, it doesn’t warp when exposed to heat as PLA might.

3. ABS Is Often Used To Make Parts
At Indepak, our focus might seem to be on the creation of custom packaging, but we also can create parts through plastic thermoforming. ABS is used to make parts, such as automotive parts, because it is highly impact resistant and offers high heat resistance. It also can be used to create protective helmets and highly protective cases for laptops and cellular phones. We can use ABS to create many items, such as parts, thermoform trays, point-of-purchase displays and more.

4. ABS Is Recyclable
ABS is 100% recyclable, although unlike PET or HDPE, ABS is not as widely accepted by curbside recycling programs, although that is starting to change. On the West Coast, most large metro area recycling programs accept ABS and we are seeing more and more cities adding this plastic to their list. ABS has a recycling code of 7, and several other plastics also are bunched together under the number 7 code.

While it might every recycling program accepts ABS, it is wise to keep in mind that products made from ABS tend to be used for much longer than products typically made using PET or HDPE. PET is used to make single use water bottles and food containers, while ABS is used to make items such as toys, golf clubs, luggage cases and other products that have a very long life.

ABS is a versatile, affordable material that can be used for many plastic thermoforming projects. If you are interested in a project using ABS or any other material, don’t hesitate to give us a call at any time. Our facility includes a wide range of thermoforming equipment, capable of processing ABS, HIPS, HDPE, PVC, PET, PETG and many other materials.

Thermoform Plastic: 14 Items Made From Recycled Plastic

Recycle. Renew. Reuse. These are the three R’s of sustainability and it might surprise you to learn that this environmental mantra dates back to the early 1970s. The first Earth Day was held in April, 1970, and it was around this time that this phrase first was uttered. Here at Indepak, we work with one of the world’s most easily recyclable materials – thermoform plastics. Once it’s recycled, companies around the world can transform this used material into the following products.

1. New Packaging
Many of our clients ask us to make their packaging using recycled plastics, and this is often an excellent option. Post-consumer and pre-consumer plastics can be recycled to make many different types of packaging as well as thermoform trays.

2. Playground Equipment
In the past, playground equipment was crated out of metal and wood, which could rust and warp. Using recycled plastics, such as detergent containers or milk bottles, these materials can be transformed into slides, playhouses and much more.

3. Clothing
Did you know that just about one dozen plastic water bottles can be transformed into enough plastic fiber to make a t-shirt? If you think plastic clothing sounds odd, consider fabrics such as Nylon, Dacron and Spandex, all of which are synthetic fibers.

4. Furniture
Plastic lawn furniture, park benches, picnic tables and other pieces of furniture can be created using recycled thermoform plastic. In fact, there are several companies that specialize in creating attractive outdoor furniture from thermoform plastics such as HDPE milk jugs. Unlike wood, which can splinter and warp, and metal, which can rust, these plastic furnishings have a far longer life.

5. Tote Bags
There are several companies out there that transform plastic grocery bags and plastic bottles into cute re-usable totes and lunch bags.

6. Purses & Wallets
In addition to basic totes, several companies also create stylish purses and wallets using recycled thermoform plastic, such as plastic grocery bags.

7. Pens
If you head to an office supply store, you are sure to notice that some of the pens that you can buy are made out of recycled plastic bottles.

8. Sports Uniforms
Nike, which produces the uniforms for the United States’ national soccer team, created these uniforms using fibers from recycled plastic bottles. According to Nike, using these bottles has ensured that more than three million bottles were reused rather than ending up in landfills.

9. Toys
There are a few companies out there that are now producing toys using recycled milk jugs and other types of thermoform plastics.

10. Buckets
Several types of plastic can be recycled and then used to make all types and sizes of buckets, for holding paint, water and whatever else you might need to carry.

11. Carpeting
Many brands of carpet are created using plastic fibers, and there are some companies out there that are now using recycled thermoform plastic to create these fibers for both carpet and rugs.

12. Sleeping Bag Insulation
If you’ve ever camped out in cold weather, but stayed toasty warm in your sleeping bag, you may have thermoform plastic to thank for that good night’s sleep. While using synthetics to make sleeping bags is very common, several companies are now making sleeping bags with insulation made from recycled plastic.

13. Doormats
If you search for recycled doormats, you will find a variety of highly attractive mats that anyone would be happy to place at their front door to welcome guests. These mats are made from everything from old flip flops to plastic bottles.

14. Crafts
If you do a quick internet search, you can find hundreds of clever craft projects that help consumers reuse their thermoform plastics. We’ve seen everything from lamps to planters to bird feeders and much more.

These are just a few of the products that can be created using recycled thermoform plastics. If you do need thermoform plastic packaging, give us a call today. We have many sustainable options that might fit your needs and budget.

The Blister Pack: 7 Facts You Need To Know

Over the course of the last 50 years, we have designed a variety of blister packs for our clients. The blister pack is the ideal packaging for a wide variety of products, from medicines to small tools to office supplies and well beyond. Here are a few quick facts about blister packs and our services.

1. Blisters Packs Can Be Your Most Affordable Packaging Option
Thermoform plastics, which is what we use to create blister packs, are some of the world’s most affordable packaging materials. Using other types of materials can be quite costly, and thermoform plastics provide you with an easy way to reduce your packaging costs. Additionally, the light weight of these materials will lower your shipping and transportation costs.

2. Trap Blisters Are A Common Type Of Blister Pack
The blister pack is a versatile style of packaging with many options. For instance, you might want to place your product in a trap blister, which includes a piece of thermoplastic slightly larger than your product. After your product is placed in the blister cavity, the blister is “trapped” between two pieces of sturdy paperboard with a die cut that displays your product.

3. Face Seals Can Be An Economical Option
A face seal features a molded thermoform plastic front that fits over your product. This plastic is then sealed to a card. The plastic will surround the product, but not the entire surface of the card. You often see items such as lip balm, toothbrushes, glue sticks, lighters, cosmetics and other lightweight items in these type of blisters. This type of blister is often less expensive than other types of blister packaging, although, no matter what type of packaging you select, we do our best to stay within your budget, while providing you with the best possible packaging option.

4. Other Face Seal Options Are Available
In addition to the basic face seal blister pack, you also could opt for what is known as a full-face seal blister. With a basic face seal blister, the product is surrounded by plastic and sealed to the card, but the card is not entirely covered by the plastic. With a full-face seal blister pack, the plastic extends all the way to the edge of the paperboard, providing a bit of extra protection.

5. Clamshells Are An Option
When a blister pack folds onto itself via a hinge at one end, this is known as a clamshell package. These can be a great option for many products, providing a high level of security, from tampering as well as moisture. We can produce any size or shape of clamshell packaging you might need, and can provide several sealing options, as well. We also can create thermoform trays that fit perfectly into a clamshell package, and this can be a great option for a product with multiple parts. The cavities of the tray will fit each part perfectly, keeping it safe until it is purchased by a customer.

6. Blister Packs Can Be A Sustainable Choice
Because a blister pack often features a combination design that includes both thermoplastic as well as paperboard or pulp, we can reduce the amount of plastic needed for your packaging. Additionally, we often can use post-consumer grade materials to create your blister pack. Furthermore, our designers will work to create a package with little excess material, fitting over each part of your product perfectly. Keep in mind, that virtually all the materials we use at Indepak are recyclable, and consumers can simply place your package in their home recycling bin when they no longer need the packaging.

7. We Use A Variety Of Materials & Equipment
At Indepak, we can create your blister packaging using many different materials. Our facility includes multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment, which is capable of processing materials such as PET, PETG, LDPE, PP, ABS and much more. This variety of equipment allows us to the meet the packaging needs of clients from many different industries. If you need a blister pack, give us a call today and we can get started on your unique project.

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.

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.

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.

5 Reasons To Consider Thermoplastic Packaging Solutions

When it comes to packaging, thermoplastic materials are often a top choice. At Indepak, we can design thermoplastic packaging for virtually any product from any industry. If you are searching for packaging solutions, here are a few reasons why we encourage you to consider thermoplastics.

1. Thermoplastic Is Versatile
Thermoforming is the process by which we take a sheet of thermoplastic, heat it up and then mold into the shape of a package, part or product. Obviously, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but one of the key advantages of thermoplastic is that you can create any shape that you might need. For instance, you can create a package for a product with many parts, and this package can feature perfectly shaped cavities that fit each part exactly.

2. Thermoplastic Is Affordable
The affordability factor is another reason why thermoplastics are such an attractive packaging solution. At our facility, we work with a wide range of thermoplastics, including PET, PETG, ABS, PVC, HIPS, PP, HDPE and more. It’s usually easy to find packaging solutions that meet all of your product needs as well as fitting within your budget.

Additionally, because thermoplastics are lightweight, this can help reduce your shipping and transportation costs. We also are able to create packages that fit your product exactly, eliminating the need for excess packaging, which means you can fit more units into shipping boxes and containers.

3. Thermoplastics Protect Products
While the thermoplastics we use might be thin in width, they offer a high level of protection for your products. Thermoplastics are highly impact resistant and moisture resistant. Additionally with heat sealing and RF sealing, we can create packages that are highly tamper-resistant.

4. Thermoplastic Attracts Customers
When customers actually can see a product, they are more likely to select that option over a product that is packaged in a box. Because thermoplastics are clear, consumers are able to get a good look at your product and this can entice them to select your item off the shelf and leave another product behind. In addition to focusing on factors such as strength, weight and cost containment, our design team also strives to make each package aesthetically pleasing to entice customers to select your unique product.

5. Thermoplastic Can Be An Eco-Friendly Choice
Virtually all of the materials we use are recyclable, and materials such as PET, PETG and HDPE are some of the easiest materials on earth to recycle, accepted by virtually all curbside recycling programs in the United States. Our range of packaging solutions also includes thermoplastics with post-consumer content as well as some starch-based bioplastics. We also can create trap blisters or other combination packages that include thermoplastic and paper or pulp.

For half a century, the team at Indepak has been hard at work, creating packaging solutions for a wide range of clients in many industries. In addition to the package design and production, we also offer services such as inventory management and package fulfilment, truly providing each client with a total solution. If you need any type of thermoplastic packaging, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

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.