Leading Plastic Container Manufacturers

Plastic containers are enclosures fabricated from plastic that are made to contain items. They are staple of modern life and provide cheap storage for both industrial suppliers and economic consumers. Plastic containers are characterized by a wide variety and can be found in every major industry. Read More…

Introduction to Plastic Containers Plastic containers are enclosures fabricated from plastic that are made to contain items. They are staple of modern life and provide cheap storage for both industrial suppliers and economic consumers. Plastic containers are characterized by a wide variety and can be found in every major industry.

As a leader in the plastic container & plastic food container industry, Rahway Steel Drum Company supplies plastic storage containers, plastic shipping containers & more, to be used for regulated & non-regulated liquid & solid packaging. Choose from our many sizes from 1 quart to 330 gallons. For 60 years we have been a plastic container distributor of lightweight, space saving, bulk containers.

Rahway Steel Drum Company, Inc. $$$

Jakacki Bag & Barrel, family owned and operated, is a plastic container manufacturer. Their products include pails, pallets, gaylords, drums and so much more.

Jakacki Bag & Barrel, Inc. $$$

Container Distributors offers a solution for all of your plastic container needs, including all sizes of new and reconditioned plastic containers, as well as steel and fibre drums. We also carry a wide range of cubic yard boxes and IBC/totes.

Container Distributors, Inc. $$$

Mauser has over a century of experience providing quality plastic and metal drums and IBC's. We offer a wide selection of open head and tight head drums from 15 to 65 gallons, and IBC's from 160 to 330 gallons. Call Mauser for your Industrial Packaging Solutions!

Mauser Packaging Solutions $$$

For the past 30 years, Western Industries has been manufacturing plastic containers for a variety of industries, and fulfilling the needs for businesses large and small. At our 350,000 square-foot manufacturing campus, we have the technology and the expertise to manufacture plastic containers of all shapes and sizes, defect-free.

Western Industries Plastic Products LLC. $$$
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History of Plastic Containers

Plastic, a synthetic version of natural resins, was first introduced in 1862 by Alexander Parkes at an international exhibition in London. This early version, derived from cellulose, marked the beginning of plastic innovation. Thirteen years later, plastic bottles made their debut, and by the early twentieth century, fully synthetic bottles emerged. Despite offering an alternative to traditional glass and ceramic bottles, these early innovations did not have a significant economic impact due to high production costs. Consequently, the development of plastic packaging only gained momentum around the mid-twentieth century.

In 1946, Earl Tupper transformed food storage with his invention of polyethylene containers, now famously known as Tupperware®. These airtight, convenient containers quickly became a household staple, marking a pivotal moment in plastic packaging history.

Around the same time, Dr. Jules Montenier made a significant impact by introducing “Stopette,” an underarm deodorant in plastic bottles, paving the way for their widespread use. By the 1960s, polyethylene bottles dominated the market, and the 1970s saw the advent of two-liter bottles and single-gallon jugs for beverages and milk.

As we moved into the 21st century, plastic containers remained prevalent, but a shift towards sustainability began. Polylactic acid (PLA), a corn-based plastic, emerged as a promising bio-based alternative, reflecting a growing environmental awareness in packaging solutions.

Production of Plastic Containers

Most plastics are made from hydrocarbons refined from petrochemicals. Crude oil and natural gas yield raw materials like vinyl chloride, glycol, ethylene, and styrene, which are key components of thermoplastics. Unlike thermosetting plastics, which cannot be remolded after setting, thermoplastics are widely used in manufacturing. While there are specialized plastics like biodegradable containers made from processed corn, most plastic containers are made from thermoplastics through standard manufacturing processes.

The production of plastic storage boxes is a highly developed economic sector, integral to numerous industries. Nearly every product today relies on plastic packaging. These storage boxes are essential for storing raw materials, transporting goods, and packaging. They protect fragile items and facilitate the transport of various objects over long distances.

Injection molding is the primary method for shaping thermoplastics. This process involves feeding thermoplastic resins into a machine called a hopper. A large screw then drives the resins through a heated passage, injecting molten plastic into a mold where it hardens into the desired shape upon cooling.

Blow molding, while similar to injection molding, differs in its use of compressed air to shape the plastic. This method is often preferred for producing items with a high degree of uniformity, such as bottles.

Types of Plastic Containers

Plastic containers are diverse and cannot be universally described. However, they share some fundamental properties. Essentially, plastic containers are enclosures made of plastic designed to store items. This definition includes both open-ended containers, like bowls, and fully closed containers, like jars.

Plastic containers can be classified by shape, size, application, or function. The simplest method is by shape or form. These containers include bottles, jars, cups, bowls, cartons (e.g., for eggs), pails, cans, squeeze tubes, trays, basins, and bins, among others. Bottles and jars are particularly prevalent, accounting for 77% of all plastic containers in the U.S. in 2011 by weight. Additionally, plastic wraps, despite their lack of rigid structure, are often included in the plastic container category.

Plastic containers are commonly categorized by their chemical composition. The most prevalent material used is thermoplastic polyethylene. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) is particularly valued for its moisture resistance and durability, accounting for 96% of plastic containers used in the U.S. Other types of plastic containers also vary chemically.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers, like medicine bottles and laundry detergent containers, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) containers, such as condiment squeeze bottles, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) containers, including food trays and plastic wraps, polypropylene containers commonly used for fruit and vegetable packaging and Nalgene drinking bottles, and polystyrene containers, typically rigid and used for food transport like yogurt, are all examples of various plastic types used in packaging and storage.

Applications of Plastic Containers

Plastic storage boxes are widely used across various industries, including beverage, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, household consumer goods, industrial lubricants, and petroleum products. These containers are designed to carry, store, and protect materials, whether raw, finished, or fragile. Available in various sizes, including large plastic bulk containers, they offer ample space for securing, transporting, and storing different types of materials.

Plastic materials are utilized in a wider array of applications across various industries than any other material. Consequently, plastic containers have similarly widespread uses in numerous commercial sectors. In today’s industrial era, it is challenging to envision achieving these applications without plastic containers, even in limited-function scenarios. Nations worldwide, regardless of their economic status, employ plastic containers. These containers are as accessible in urban and rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa as they are in North America. In developed countries, most people cannot recall a time without using plastic containers, such as tubs or baby bottles.

Plastic containers are primarily used for affordable and convenient food storage. In underdeveloped areas, where food is scarce and water sources are limited, plastic containers are essential and in high demand. In developed countries, most food containers are plastic. Examples include bulk and freezer containers, plastic bottles, jars, and wraps, which are popular for preserving food freshness.

Plastic containers are indispensable across various industries beyond food packaging. In the pharmaceutical and medical sectors, they are crucial for transporting medicines and specialized chemicals. The construction industry relies on plastic pails for materials like paint and adhesives. Landscaping utilizes plastic catch basins to manage rainwater flow and prevent pollution. Industrial warehouses use plastic bins and totes for material transport and storage, while factories employ plastic tubs for collecting production line items. Interestingly, plastic bins also play a role in recycling other plastic containers.

Pros and Cons of Plastic Containers

Using plastic storage boxes and containers offers numerous advantages. One significant benefit is cost savings. Switching from disposable cardboard boxes to reusable plastic trays can lower supply-chain expenses. Each plastic box can replace hundreds of individual cartons due to its durability and versatility. Additionally, these containers require minimal maintenance, have lower installation and disposal costs, and save space for return shipments.

Space savings is another advantage. Plastic storage boxes and containers are available in various sizes and designs, including stackable bins with interlocking sections, making them ideal for optimizing warehouse space. Their design flexibility ensures that they can fit into any storage area efficiently.

Protection of stored goods is crucial, and plastic storage boxes excel in this area. Stackable plastic boxes with lids safeguard the contents from dust and debris, maintaining the integrity of the stored items. This level of protection ensures that goods remain undamaged and in good condition.

Moreover, plastic storage boxes and bins offer long-lasting protection. They are more resistant to environmental factors compared to cardboard boxes and hardwood storage units. Made from strong, lightweight, high-density, waterproof, and UV-resistant materials, these containers provide a durable and reliable storage solution, ensuring longevity and sustained use.

Plastic is highly valued for its efficiency, versatility, and durability. It can be molded into any shape, is lightweight yet strong, and is cost-effective to produce, making it a preferred material for many industries.

In the context of plastic containers, versatility and customizability are key attributes. Designed for affordable and convenient storage, these containers must accommodate various shapes and sizes. Plastic containers excel in providing the necessary adaptability for diverse storage needs.

Plastic containers, though advantageous, are not without flaws. Made from crude oil, their high global demand exacerbates environmental concerns. Improper disposal of plastic products, particularly PVC, poses significant ecological threats, both chemically and physically, such as entangling marine life. Additionally, synthetic compounds like BPA in plastics have raised long-term health concerns. While recyclability has improved, with increasing recycled plastic bottle usage since 1990, effective waste management remains a challenge for governments and businesses. The best solutions lie in adopting safer plastic alternatives, such as LDPE over PVC, and advancing research on non-hydrocarbon-based plastics.

Plastic Bottles

Packaging is as essential as the product itself, requiring both presentability and safety for transport and consumption. Plastic containers and bottles are ideal for consumable products, particularly beverages and liquids, due to their ease and safety of transport.

Plastic packaging not only ensures product safety but also enhances presentation. It allows manufacturers to incorporate attractive designs and branding, aiding in marketing efforts. Additionally, plastic is often recyclable and reusable, making it an environmentally responsible choice.

Plastic bottles are crafted from various materials, tailored to the specific properties required by the end products. Typically, single-use plastic bottles are composed of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), valued for its lightweight and robust nature. In contrast, bottles designed for recyclability and repeated use are often made from Polypropylene (PP) or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), materials known for their durability and versatility.

The manufacturing processes for disposable and reusable plastic bottles exhibit subtle differences. Single-use PET bottles undergo a streamlined production method focused on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Meanwhile, the fabrication of reusable bottles from PP or PVC involves additional steps to enhance their structural integrity and longevity, ensuring they can withstand multiple cycles of use and recycling.

Plastic containers are ideal for packaging food, beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural products due to their durability, reusability, cost-effectiveness compared to alternatives like glass, flexibility, safety, and ease of molding and shaping. Additionally, they provide an excellent medium for branding.

Types of Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles and liquid containers are classified by their composition. Common types include single-use plastic bottles, typically made from new PET mixed with recycled PET, melted at 500°F to form thermosetting plastics that cannot be reshaped once cooled. Reusable water bottles, made from thermoplastics, are melted at 150-350°F, allowing for reheating and reshaping. PET plastic bottles, made from polyethylene terephthalate derived from natural gas or crude oil, are transparent, shatterproof, lightweight, durable, and resistant to microbial growth, making them ideal for beverages and carbonated drinks.

Polyethylene (PE) encompasses High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE), and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), all used in plastic bottle manufacturing. HDPE, a recyclable thermoplastic, is moisture-resistant and non-reactive, making it ideal for beverages and personal care products. LDPE bottles are flexible, tough, and resistant to impacts and corrosion, suitable for sterilized or expensive products. MDPE, combining properties of HDPE and LDPE, offers flexibility and reduced translucency, commonly used in squeezy bottles. Polypropylene (PP), a thermoplastic polymer, enables colored, lightweight, and heat-resistant bottles for food, beverages, cosmetics, and medicines. Bioplastics, derived from organic biomass, provide sustainable and eco-friendly options for food, beverage packaging, and agricultural product transportation.

Working with Plastic Container Suppliers

When searching for a plastic container supplier or manufacturer, it’s essential to consider several key factors. Despite its simple appearance, plastic production is a highly sophisticated process requiring extensive knowledge of chemistry and related fields. Therefore, prioritize suppliers with a proven track record of high-quality production and the expertise to advise on specific container applications.

Understand the methods your supplier uses, such as blow molding for increased uniformity. Given the environmental concerns associated with plastic, assess the supplier’s commitment to sustainability. Discuss their recycling practices and recommended protocols for proper use and disposal of plastic containers.

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