How to choose the best plastic container for your product? 10 questions you should ask yourself
Choosing the right plastic container to package your product is much more than determining its shape, colour, capacity, or its dimensions. The plastics processing industry, in general, and the manufacturers of plastic containers, in particular, offer a wide range of options. Considering product characteristics and packaging conditions will help you to get suitable results, although the choice can be complicated.
To make the decision process a little easier, here are the 10 questions you should ask yourself to choose the right plastic container. Make sure you follow them to get the right decision.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PLASTIC PACKAGING
To identify what type of plastic packaging can be used to package a particular product, you will need to analyse its characteristics, which are defined according to the materials that make it up, its mechanical, barrier, optical and thermal properties, as well as its interaction with both, the product it contains and the environment where it is going to be.
Taking into account the characteristics and behaviour of each polymer, the relationship between the packaging and the product it contains will give different results. You will have to determine what structure you need to package your product… Whether you need a single-layer structure or a barrier container, or if it should be a multilayer one or a more sustainable version using a plasma fluorination.
WHAT DO YO HAVE TO VALUE WHEN CHOOSING A PLASTIC PACKAGE?
To choose a plastic container you must consider:
The plastic container must have the rated capacity adjusted to the product to be contained. Do not forget to calculate the brimful capacity, that is the maximum amount a container can hold, based on the density of the product you are packaging. A half empty container might cause problems for both, the preservation of the product, due to the oxygen that you will allow it to be inside of the plastic container, and for its presentation, which may even appear to be lower than indicated.
Rated capacity vs brimful capacity
There are many options in the industry of manufacturers of plastic containers, either in single-layer packaging (HDPE, PET, etc.) or barrier containers (multilayer structures or fluorination treatments, the newest being plasma fluorination). Any of them will be, apparently, appropriate but it will all depend on the product to be packaged. Therefore, the most important point is to determine the characteristics and behaviour of the product that will contain the plastic container as well as to analyse its compatibility through the relevant tests. In the case of agrochemicals or industrial products (automotive, dyes, pigments, chlorinated products…) for example, you may have to bet on the safety and choose a barrier container, to prevent the reactions generated by the packaged product itself from deforming the packaging or leaking.
Single-layer plastic container vs barrier layer plastic container
The shape of a plastic container, either cylindrical, oval or square, etc will facilitate or not its storage and will determine the cost of transport per unit. Its closure device will also have to assist the consumer to dispense the product and allow reasonable ease to open the container by the intended consumer and keep the product secure and preserved.
Packaging design can also be the key to attracting the customer. Choosing a plastic container that is both functional and visually striking is important if you want your brand to stand out from the others.
The plastic container you choose will determine how it will be decorated as it will have to be adapted to its hardness or flexibility, its shape (cylindrical, square, oval…), deciding whether you prefer a label or screen printing to adapt texts and images to the area designed in the container itself. This will affect the deadlines for your product launch.
Label decoration vs screen printing decoration
During the storage and transportation of the product, the product will be exposed to different physical and environmental factors that may alter its conditions. Therefore, the plastic container you choose must be able to preserve and protect the product properly preventing from its own deformation.
The plastic container must be safe and resistant enough not to get degraded, deformed, collapsed or to leak during transportation and handling.
Approval according to the legislation required in your sector of activity will give you that guarantee since it requires tests that ensure it: UN according to ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.), and other issues such as migration tests for food, …
UN Approvals – Other tests
Depending on how important environmental care is to your business or target customer, you should consider choosing a sustainable plastic container. Your degree of commitment to sustainability will be determined by your business philosophy and your business values, firstly, but also by the application of legislation on plastic packaging that both, the EU and each member country, have been publishing since 2018. Recyclability is a term you must consider when making your decision.
Sustainable Commitment – Legislation – Recyclability
Spending large amounts of money on the packaging does not guarantee the overall benefits or results. A primarily full study is required to determine the available budget before choosing the plastic container you want to use. It is important to determine the proper weight of the packaging, intimately related to the material and technology, as it will determine the final price of your product and the cost of transport and its handling.
When carrying out any action in a company, it is important to observe the competition and consider the type of packaging used for similar products. It may save you some work but do not forget to question whether it is really the right solution. We suggest you ask an expert for advice. The commercial team of ALCION PACKAGING SOLUTIONS, always at your disposal, will solve any of your doubts.
Do you want to know which type of plastic suits best your product? Find out how we can help you.