Selecting a Plastic Container

Factors to Consider When Choosing Plastic Packaging

There are several things you should take into consideration when choosing the most suitable plastic packaging material for your product. Factors range from the container's color, shape and size to the plastic's ability to maintain its integrity under certain conditions such as extreme heat, cold or chemical exposure.

Determine which plastic characteristics are the most important to you and your product. Some of the factors listed below may not be applicable and there may be others to consider beyond this scope. Each product is unique, so be sure to test your product with the packaging. This is the only way to truly know if it is the best packaging choice for your product.

Plastic Characteristics

  • Permeation / Barrier - How well the container forms a barrier, keeping the contents from escaping or allowing atmospheric elements to enter the container
  • Sorption Characteristics - The action of soaking up or attracting substances
  • Chemical Resistance - How well the plastic will resist breaking down when exposed to the container's contents
  • Stress Crack Resistance - Likelihood that the container will break or form cracks when subjected to physical stressors
  • Rigidity / Flexibility - Should the plastic container be stiff or bendable?
  • Impact Resistance - How well the container will withstand breakage if dropped
  • Sterilization - Can the packaging withstand the heat or chemicals used during the sterilization process?
  • Recyclable - Is the plastic readily recyclable? For more information on plastic container recycling , visit our plastic recycle codes page
  • Temperature Resistance - Will the plastic break down if exposed to extreme heat or extreme cold?

Plastic Characteristics - More Information

Plastic Container Properties by Recycle Codes

Transparency Clear Translucent Translucent Translucent Translucent Clear
Max Useable Temp 140° F 248° F 158° F 176° F 275° F 158° F
Brittleness Temp 14° F -148° F -22° F -148° F 32° F 71.6° F
Moisture Barrier Good Excellent Fair Good Excellent Fair
Sunlight Barrier Good Fair Fair Fair Fair Fair
Oxygen Barrier Good Poor Good Poor Poor Fair
Tensile Strength, PSI 8000 4000 5000 2000 5000 6000
Flexibility Semi Semi Rigid Flexible Rigid Rigid
Impact Resistance Excellent Excellent Good Excellent Good Fair
Invented By J. R. Whinfield and J. T. Dickson, 1940 Robert L. Banks & J. Paul Hogan, 1951. Waldo Semon, 1926 Eric Fawcett and Reginald Gibson, 1935 Robert L. Banks & J. Paul Hogan, 1951 Eduard Simon     , 1839

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