Clamshell packaging is the perfect option for many retail and specialty food products. A clamshell is actually a type of blister package that folds onto itself and clamshells can include custom inserts, such as a tray to hold individual parts or different types or sizes of food. Not only can the design be a versatile as you need, as one of the nation’s top clamshell packaging suppliers, we also have a variety of materials we can use to create your custom packaging, including the following.

PET & PETG
This is an abbreviation for the thermoform plastic polyethylene terephthalate. PETG is polyethylene terephthalate glycol. These two types of plastic are used by many clamshell packaging suppliers. PET commonly is used for water bottles, but also is FDA-approved for food packaging, so it can be used to create some clamshell packaging. It provides strong moisture resistance and it’s a strong, shatterproof plastic and an affordable option as well.

PETG, which often is used as filament for 3D printers, also can be used for clamshell packaging although it is crucial that you select a clamshell packaging supplier with extensive experience with PETG, as it is a bit trickier to handle than PET.

Like PET, this thermoform plastic is lightweight, impact-resistant and acts as an excellent moisture barrier. Both plastics are FDA-approved and can be used to hold a variety of foods and beverages. One advantage of PETG over PET is that the PETG is more heat resistant than PET. If you overheat PET, it becomes brittle and the plastic’s appearance can become hazy. PETG can be a good option for products that need RF sealing, as the heat will not be a factor. When it comes to sustainability, both PET and PETG are among the easiest plastics to recycle accepted by all curbside recycling programs in the United States.

HDPE
High-density polyethylene is another thermoform plastic that many clamshell packaging suppliers will use for retail packaging, and this material also is FDA-approved for food packaging. You will see HDPE used to create food tubs with lids as well as milk jugs, as well as shampoo, household cleaners and much more, including clamshell packaging. HDPE is lightweight and extremely strong and impact resistant. HDPE also is an excellent moisture barrier, even better than PET.

As a side note, scientists test various materials for their level of moisture resistance and basically “grade” them using what is known as a Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate, or MVTR. HDPE’s MVTR is 0.5, while PET’s is 2.0. That might make it seem like PET is not very moisture-resistant, but only if you compare it with HDPE. If you compare PET’s MVTR of 2.0 with polystyrene’s (which is 10.0), you can see that PET is a very moisture-resistant material. Keep in mind that polystyrene is used to make disposable coffee cups, so it obviously provides enough of a moisture barrier to hold hot coffee, but this truly showcases the high moisture resistance of HDPE and PET.

Sustainability is great reason to consider using HDPE for clamshell packaging, as it is another material that is easy to recycle. Virtually all curbside recycling programs accept HDPE and PET, so it’s easy for consumers to simply toss your packaging into a recycling bin and help it move on to its new life as something else.

OPS & HIPS
When you think about polystyrene, those aforementioned coffee cups probably spring to mind as well as take-out containers for food. These certainly are two ways that we use foamed styrene, but there are other plastics in the styrene family that can be used for clamshell packaging. OPS, oriented polystyrene, can be used to create clamshell packaging for many products, including food products.

HIPS, or high-impact polystyrene, is, as its name suggests, highly impact resistant and it also is highly moisture resistant and FDA-approved. You often see HIPS used to make trays that hold cookies or crackers or perhaps items you would buy at the deli counter, but it can be used for other types of packaging, including clamshell packaging.

Starch-Based Bioplastics
While starched-based bioplastics have been around for decades, they have become more and more popular in the last decade, as consumers and manufacturers search for the most sustainable packaging options. The starch used for these bioplastics comes from a renewable source and can be used for retail and food clamshell packaging.

Some bioplastics are compostable and some are biodegradable. Rather than being tossed into a recycling bin, these typically need to be placed in your compost bin or taken to a facility that can create the conditions necessary for biodegrading, which will not happen naturally at a landfill.

Recycled Content
One sustainable option for your clamshell packaging would be to consider using materials with recycled content. In some cases, this might be post-consumer recycled content or perhaps pre-consumer. Post-consumer content would be materials that consumers used and then placed in a recycling bin, while pre-consumer would be materials that were processed by unused by consumers. Using recycled content can be an excellent option for many retail products and, in some cases, can be used for food packaging.

If you’ve been searching for clamshell packaging suppliers, give the team at Indepak a call. Since 1967, we’ve been creating clamshell packaging for a wide range of industries, and we have the experience and ingenuity to produce any type of packaging you might need.