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Article: What is Clamshell Packaging?

What is Clamshell Packaging?

Clamshell packaging, also known as blister packaging, is a type of packaging that is widely used for consumer products, particularly tiny gadgets, toys, and some foods. It consists of two major parts:

  1. Plastic blisters, often known as bubbles, are translucent plastic shells that are pre-formed and intended to hold products. Usually, plastic materials like PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) are used to make the blister.

  2. The backing card is a flat, sturdy sheet of plastic or cardboard that forms the foundation of the package. The product is contained within the packaging after the blister is sealed onto this backing card.

Clamshell packaging is widely used across various industries due to its protective and display features. These industries include, Electronics and consumer goods, retail industry, food industry, pharmaceutical and medical industry, and even the automotive industry. 

In addition to offering protection from moisture, dust, and tampering, the clamshell form enables customers to view the product clearly through the transparent plastic blister. It is a common option for packaging since it can be made to fit a variety of product shapes and sizes and is rather cheap to produce.

Uses of Clamshell Containers 

Clamshell containers are popular in various industries because they are lightweight, durable, and provide good product visibility and protection. Depending on the use, they are frequently composed of materials like foam, polypropylene (PP), or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which can be insulated, freezer-safe, or microwaveable. Clamshell containers can also be made with vented sections or hinged lids, which makes them appropriate for a variety of uses, both food and non-food.

  1. Electronics and Consumer Goods: Small electronics (headphones, cables, computer accessories), remote controls, toys and action figures, personal care products (razors, toothbrushes)
  2. Retail and Merchandising: Packaging for impulse purchases, and hanging packaging for products displayed on racks 
  3. Food Industry: Fresh fruits and vegetables (berries, grapes, cherry tomatoes), baked goods (muffins, pastries) and pre-packaged snacks and confectionery items
  4. Pharmaceutical and Medical: Over-the-counter medications and medical supplies (bandages, syringes)
  5. Automotive and Industrial: Packaging for small automotive parts and accessories and components and hardware for industrial equipment

Pros of Clamshell Packaging

Protection

Clamshell packaging offers great protection for the enclosed product. The solid plastic blister and backing card provide a protective barrier against physical damage, dust, moisture, and other environmental variables that could harm the product during shipping, handling, and storage.

Visibility

The translucent plastic blister allows customers to see the product clearly inside the packaging. This visibility benefits both retailers and consumers because it allows things to be displayed aesthetically on shelves and purchasers to check them before purchasing.

Tamper Evident 

Clamshell packaging is thought to be tamper-evident, meaning that any attempt to open it up or tamper with it will result in visible signs of tampering. Customers can feel more secure and reassured with this function, which makes sure the product hasn't been accessed or tampered with previously.

Convenience 

Clamshell packaging is made to be convenient in a number of ways. Firstly, it facilitates marketing and display, generally with built-in hang holes for shelf attachment. Secondly, once opened, the box itself might be used to temporarily store the goods.Lastly, it is convenient for customers to carry or travel with the packaged goods because of its sturdy design, which safeguards the product throughout transit.

Cons of Clamshell Packaging

Environmental Impact 

The major disadvantage of clamshell packaging is its environmental impact. Clamshell packages are frequently constructed from a mix of plastic and cardboard materials that are difficult to separate and recycle. The plastic used, such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), is not commonly accepted by most recycling facilities, so a large portion of these packages end up in landfills. This contributes to the ongoing issue of plastic waste and pollution. Furthermore, the production of clamshell packaging necessitates the use of non-renewable resources such as petroleum-based plastics, which contributes to the depletion of natural resources. Additionally, most plastic materials used in clamshell packaging are not biodegradable and can potentially harm wildlife and ecosystems.

Different Types of Clamshell Packaging 

Thermoformed Clamshell Packaging

In thermoformed clamshell packaging, a plastic sheet is heated and then shaped over a mold to produce the required blister shape. PVC, PET, and RPET (recycled PET) are common materials used in manufacturing due to their clarity and formability. These thermoformed clamshells provide high product visibility, tamper-proofing, and protection during shipping and handling. They can be customized with features like hanging holes, snap closures, or perforations for easy opening, making them appropriate for a wide range of consumer products.

Plastic Clamshell Packaging

Plastic clamshell packaging is made entirely of plastic resins such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), and PET. They can be manufactured using injection molding or thermoforming methods. Injection-molded clamshells provide consistent wall thickness and strength, whereas thermoformed clamshells provide greater clarity. These plastic clamshells are lightweight, durable, and can be customized with features such as hinged lids or venting, making them suitable for packaging a wide range of products.

Paperboard Clamshell Packaging 

Paperboard clamshell packaging consists of a plastic blister, which is often thermoformed, and a paperboard backing card or tray. Paperboard offers rigidity, structural support, graphics, or barcodes. Paperboard is more recyclable than plastic clamshells, making this type of packaging a more environmentally friendly option. It is widely used to package small consumer goods, electronics, and retail products.

Plant Fiber Clamshell Packaging 

Plant fiber clamshell packaging is made with renewable plant-based fibers such as bamboo, wheat straw, and sugarcane bagasse. These fibers are molded or compressed into a rigid clamshell shape, usually using a plant-based binder. This type of packaging is a more sustainable and biodegradable alternative to traditional plastic clamshells, making it appropriate for packaging food, cosmetics, and environmentally friendly consumer goods.

Sugarcane Clamshell Packaging 

Sugarcane clamshell packaging is made exclusively from sugarcane-derived materials such as bagasse (sugarcane fiber residue) or sugarcane-based bioplastics. These clamshells are biodegradable, compostable, and have a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based plastics. They are frequently used to package fresh produce, baked goods, and other food items where biodegradability is desired.

Styrofoam Clamshell Packaging 

Styrofoam clamshell packaging makes use of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), also known as Styrofoam, a lightweight and insulating material. It is commonly used to package temperature-sensitive food products such as meat, seafood, and baked goods because it has excellent insulation properties that help to keep the product fresh and at the right temperature during transportation and storage. However, EPS is not biodegradable and has a significant environmental impact.

PLA Clamshell Packaging 

PLA clamshell packaging is made of polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable and compostable plastic derived from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugarcane. These PLA clamshells are a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics. They can be designed with varying degrees of rigidity, clarity, and heat resistance depending on the application, making them ideal for packaging fresh produce, cosmetics, and other products that require biodegradability.

Clear clamshell containers sizes 

Clamshell containers, particularly the clear plastic ones, are available in a wide range of sizes to accommodate different product types and quantities. Containers are available in three typical sizes; small, medium and large. Small sized containers are often used to pack snacks, fruits or some vegetables, while medium sized containers are best for packing large portions of food such as salads or sandwiches. Large sized containers are used to pack food items in bulk order or for catering purposes. However, manufacturers can produce specific sized containers as per the necessity. Clamshell containers are also available in various shapes for better packaging.  

Where to Buy Clamshell Containers 

You can easily choose and buy from a variety of clamshell containers from Earth Now. They provide fiber clamshells, PLA clamshells, clear clamshells and many products that are sustainable and environmentally- friendly. You can find the right container for your product from multiple sizes and shapes available.  

FAQ’s 

Are clamshell containers recyclable?

Plastic clamshell containers are generally recyclable, but this varies depending on the type of plastic used.

How is clamshell packaging made?

Clamshell packaging is typically made using thermoforming, which involves heating a plastic sheet and shaping it into the desired shape with a mold.

What are the benefits of clamshell packaging? 

The primary advantages of clamshell packaging are improved product visibility, tamper-proofing, protection during shipping and handling, and convenience in merchandising and storage.

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