Sæplast Americas Inc. - Comparing PE Containers vs. Cardboard


If you're in the poultry, pork, seafood or red meat industries, then you've most likely noticed that a lot of your raw food materials are stored in something called “corrugated boxes” (i.e.: Cardboard). Corrugated boxes can be made to accommodate the volume of your raw food for movement within your plant. There are reasons why some people choose these corrugated boxes over other options, but there is more to consider than just convenience when it comes to handling your work in process.

One of the main challenges individuals face when using cardboard containers comes from trying to reuse this material after its initial use. In a food plant, cardboard containers are almost never able to be reused due to food safety rules associated with the risk of contamination. In comparison, PE polyethylene containers are strong, durable and 100% reusable in contrast.

The food safe materials used in manufacturing PE polyethylene containers allow direct food contact with the inside of the container whereas a throw away plastic liner must be used for food contact inside a corrugated cardboard container.

PE polyethylene containers allow direct contact with food inside the container, whereas cardboard bins must be used with a single-use plastic liner

PE containers are of one piece construction versus the need of corrugated containers to have a wooden pallet to be used under them to allow for ease of moving.

The PE containers construction is smooth inside and outside of the box allowing for ease of transfer of product out of the container and allows for easy cleaning. Think about the contamination risk if wood fibers, staples that hold the cardboard containers together or pieces of cardboard themselves get into your food product. The entire container will not be usable for food consumption and thus creates a loss of revenue to your company.

Another extremely important feature of PE polyethylene containers is the fact they can be easily stacked safely inside your facility thus saving valuable floor space and allowing for a safer flow of traffic within the plant. This allows your employees to work in a more safe environment.

A very key consideration when considering corrugated cardboard containers is the added expense of the daily cost for purchase, assembly, tear down and disposal into landfill of them. PE polyethylene containers do not carry these concerns. When looking at a per day cost and examining your sustainability values, corrugated cardboard does not line up well against PE Containers.

So, which one is better?

The answer is it depends on your needs. If you're shipping something that doesn’t need to be returned then cardboard containers may be right for you. But, If reusability, sustainability, reducing landfill costs, employee safety and food safety are important to you, then PE containers are the best option.

Choose wisely.