When you poll consumers about their spending habits, they typically list quality and price as two of the factors that drive them to purchase one product over another. However, more and more, the sustainability of the packaging is also a top factor that consumers consider before making a purchase. Sustainable custom clamshell packaging can be a great way to win over new customers and retain current customers.

In a 2018 study by Nielson, nearly half of the survey respondents stated they were concerned about sustainability when purchasing products. Basically, if you need packaging, it’s a good idea to look at options that you can advertise as recyclable, sustainable or eco-friendly.

Our Sustainable Options
At Indepak, we’ve been designing and producing custom clamshell packaging for more than 50 years, and we’ve been committed to sustainability since our earliest days. After all, we are based in Portland, which is a city known for its environmental innovations. In fact, we’ve been recycling, reusing and reducing long before it was popular or required.

Virtually all of the thermoform plastic materials we use are recyclable. If you want to select plastics that are the easiest to recycle, we recommend considering PET, PETG or HDPE as your material choice. These plastics are accepted by all curbside recycling programs in the United States, which makes it easy for consumers to simply toss the used packaging into the recycling bin.

PET, PETG and HDPE are suitable for use as custom clamshell packaging for retail products, electronics packaging and even specialty foods packaging. Custom clamshell packaging is an ideal option for many types of food products, including bakery goods, fresh fruit, prepared deli items and much more.

We also can provide you with custom clamshell packaging that includes recycled content. This can be post-consumer or pre-consumer recycled content. Post-consumer plastic is recycled plastic that was touched by consumers, such as a water bottle that was used and then recycled.

Pre-consumer plastic is plastic that was used to process a package or product but never came into contact with consumers, such as the plastic webs that remain after we have created packaging.

When it comes to packaging, you can opt to have all of your custom clamshell packaging creating using recycled content or a portion of it. Either way, you are making a sustainable choice that your customers will appreciate.

Additionally, we can use starch-based bioplastics for your packaging. This might not be a suitable option for all types of products, but if you are interested in bioplastics, we can determine if this is a good choice for your product.

Bioplastics can be recyclable or compostable or biodegradable, but there is a bit more to the story. While the recycling of traditional plastics is relatively easy for consumers, compostable and biodegradable materials aren’t quite as easy to dispose of as regular plastics. You really cannot simply place compostable plastics into your compost bin or regular trash bin.

Bioplastics will not compost or biodegrade unless they are taken to facilities that specialize in creating the conditions necessary to facilitate the composting or biodegradation process. Most consumers are unaware of these facts, which is why we sometimes just recommend that our clients use traditional plastics, as these are quite easy to recycle.

Of course, bioplastics are created using renewable sources, which is a huge plus, and as bioplastics become more and more common, we are certain that easier recycling and composting options for consumers will become available. If you are looking for custom clamshell packaging created using renewable sources, we definitely can provide you that as a materials option.

We have many other thermoform plastic materials that we can use for custom clamshell packaging, all of which can be recycled. We also do our best to reduce the amount of plastic needed for your packing in general. This not only reduces the amount of plastic needed, but it also reduces your costs, as well.

In some cases, you might wish to forgo custom clamshell packaging and opt for some other type of blister packaging. With a trap blister, for instance, we create a custom plastic cavity to hold and protect your product and “trap” it between two pieces of cardboard. This reduces the amount of plastic we need to use and can be an excellent option for many retail products.

Some Helpful Recycling Tips
While consumers are eager to recycle and make more sustainable choices, they don’t always know much about the recycling process or the proper way to recycling packaging. The following tips can be shared with consumers on your website to help make it easier for them to ensure that they are recycling correctly.

1. Read Your Trash Bin
Trash bins typically list the items that can be recycled somewhere on them. For instance, the recycle bin might state the types of plastic materials that can be placed in the bin, as well as materials such as glass and aluminum. If a material isn’t listed, it usually should be placed in the regular rubbish bin.

2. Some Items Aren’t Recyclable
For instance, plastic straws cannot be recycled and, in general, flexible plastic packaging also cannot be recycled as of yet. For instance, a plastic baggie you used to store a sandwich or a plastic bag of cookies or crackers also cannot be recycled. Rather than try to recycle that plastic baggie, consider using reusable baggies instead that reduce your overall use of plastic.

Also, glass items such as dishes, mugs and wine glasses aren’t recyclable either and need to be placed into the regular trash bin or, if in good condition, donated to a charity shop perhaps. Glass food and beverage jars, however, usually are recyclable, but take a look on the jar to find a recycling symbol just in case.

3. Sort & Empty
In general, you don’t really need to wash out your plastic or glass or aluminum containers before recycling them, although it is a good idea to remove as much of the food as possible. This can be tricky with items such as peanut butter jars, but just remove as much as possible and then toss it into the recycle bin.

If you have glass jars, these usually include a metal lid. We recommend that you remove the metal lid and place the jar and lid into the recycling bin separately, as these are different materials that will be sent to different recycling centers.

4. Recycling Electronics & Batteries
Batteries should never be placed into a recycling bin, but they also should not be placed into the regular trash bin. You will need to find a place in your area that recycles batteries and bring your batteries to that facility. To make it easy, just keep your used batteries in a small box and just take it to the battery facility when the box is full.

When it comes to E-waste, this also cannot go into a recycling bin or the regular trash bin. Be sure to take all electronic items, from old computers and radios to old cell phones, fans and electrical cords to an E-waste facility. Cities often host free E-waste recycling days, so look for those events, gather up your E-waste and bring it to the event.

Advantages of Plastics
Plastics often get a bad rap, environmentally-speaking, but these materials also have some huge advantages over other materials. For instance, plastics are extremely lightweight. It takes far less energy to transport custom clamshell packaging than packaging created out of any other materials, including cardboard or aluminum.

Plastics also help reduce food waste, as we can use processes such as modified atmosphere packaging to preserve and protect food for days or even weeks, extending the shelf life.

Because plastics are impact-resistant, water-resistant and mold-resistant they protect products far better than any other material. If a plastic bottle falls off a shelf, it’s likely to survive the fall, while a metal can or glass jar are likely to be damaged. Cardboard might not be damaged by a fall, but the items inside are less protected from impact and cardboard can be impacted by humidity and does not preserve items as well as plastic.

Many plastic materials are easy to recycle, and these materials also are highly affordable. Custom clamshell packaging can be one of the most budget-friendly packaging options available, and we can design any type of clamshell you might need. If you are looking for a custom clamshell packaging supplier or a supplier for any type of rigid plastic packaging, the team at Indepak is here to help. Give us a call today and let’s discuss your packaging needs.