Clamshell Packaging: Choosing Sustainable Options

The clamshell is one of the most versatile types of packaging and can be used with a wide range of retail and food-related products. When a new client contacts us about a packaging project, their three main concerns tend to be affordability, production time and sustainability. Our goal is always to provide a total solution for each client, addressing all of these concerns. When it comes to eco-friendly clamshell packaging, we offer many sustainable options, including the following.

Easy-To-Recycle Materials
Virtually every material we use at Indepak is recyclable. Our facility includes multiple lines of high-speed thermoforming equipment, and this allows us to process a variety of thermoform plastic materials. Plastics such as PET, LDPE and HDPE are accepted by most curbside recycling programs in the United States. Selecting highly recyclable materials makes it easy for consumers to simply toss your package into the recycling bin after it has been used.

Post-Consumer Materials & Recycled Content
We also can create clamshell packaging using post-consumer grade materials, and well as pre-consumer materials. Post-consumer materials are plastics that have been used by consumers and were then recycled for a new use.

Pre-consumer materials are plastics that have not been used by consumers, typically manufacturing waste. For instance, perhaps a factory uses shrink wrap to cover products. Any shrink wrap that is recycled and not used to cover products would be pre-consumer materials. Aside from plastics, some examples of pre-consumer waste might be sawdust or perhaps fabric trimmed off clothing in a textile mill.

When we create clamshell packaging, we feed large sheets of plastic into our thermoforming equipment. This plastic is heated, molded into your package shape and excess plastic is trimmed away. This excess plastic is known as a web, and we ensure that all excess plastic and webs are recycled and used again for a future project. This material is technically being recycled but does not fall under the category of pre-consumer materials because it remains in our facility and is reused. If there are materials that we send away for recycling, this would fall under the guise of pre-consumer materials.

As we design your clamshell packaging, we can discuss the amount of recycled content to be included in your project. In some cases, 100% of the packaging will be created using recycled content, while in other cases, it might be less and some new materials may be used. Your packaging also might include a mix of pre-consumer and post-consumer materials.

Starch-Based Bio-Materials
Most thermoform plastics are by-products of petroleum, and while we can recycle these plastics again and again, petroleum is not a renewable resource. Therefore, bio-based and renewable plastics have been developed to fulfill our need for sustainable packaging materials. Some of these starch-based bio-materials are biodegradable and some are compostable. Compostable plastics usually can be placed in a consumer’s green waste container, but should not be placed in the recycling bin.

Of course, we also reduce waste in general through our design process. We ensure that each package carefully protects and preserves your product, but does not include any unnecessary extra packaging. When we feed sheets of thermoform plastic through our thermoforming machines, we also strive to use as much of the plastic sheet as possible, reducing the amount of web material left over.

In addition to producing clamshell packaging, we also can design and create all types of blister packaging, thermoform trays, containers with lids and much more. We offer sustainable options for every type of packaging we create, so be sure to ask about the many eco-friendly choices available when you contact us.

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