The different types of plastic packaging – and what you can use them for

If you’re starting your own e-business, you’ll need to think about packaging. Here’s a quick introduction to the three most common types of plastic packaging.

In recent years, e-commerce and online shopping have grown at an astonishing rate. These days, it’s possible for anyone to purchase a WordPress (or similar) website template and start up an online shop in mere hours. 

However, while starting an internet shop is easy, you’ll still need to find ways to package and deliver your products to customers safely.

While order fulfillment services are becoming more popular (the process whereby a third party looks after your delivery and packaging considerations), it’s still far more common for product processing to be handled in-house, at the source. 

As well as sourcing a delivery partner to ship your goods, you’ll also need to consider how you’re going to package your products for secure delivery. Depending on your merchandise, this could be as simple as choosing the right delivery packaging – or it might mean finding ways to bottle or contain your product – for example, liquids. 

Of the available options, plastic packaging is by far the most common – for several reasons. 

Why you should use plastic for your packaging

First and foremost, plastic is remarkably cheap to produce and is incredibly lightweight. Because plastic packaging production is so efficient, you can lower your manufacturing and delivery costs – potentially passing on these savings to your customers in the form of lower prices. 

Plastic resins have considerable advantages over other alternative forms of packaging, not least of which is the fact they’re waterproof, durable and extremely flexible in use.

Manufacturers can shape plastic products to your precise requirements using tools like to produce bespoke packaging built for a purpose. 

The most common types of plastic packaging

To the layman, ‘plastic’ is just plastic – most people use the term generically. However, there are many different types of plastic used in packaging. If you’re starting an e-business, you’ll need to decide which is best suited to the type of products you intend to supply – and how you’ll supply them.

The three most common forms of plastic packaging are:

1) High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

If you drink any form of bottled liquid, you’ll already be familiar with HDPE products. Because the material has a high biological resistance and durability, it is particularly well-suited to the production of containers for bleaches or other industrial chemicals. HDPE can also be constructed with high stiffness to protect against leakages or cracks. 

2) Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is most commonly used for food packaging in the form of plastic films. It can also be used for postal packaging or heat sealing. You’ll already be familiar with the use of LDPE packaging in the wrapping used for meats, bread and sandwiches.

3) Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)

PET or PETE packaging is most widely-used for sauce or drinks bottle manufacturing. The product provides an effective and efficient barrier for gases and moisture – making it particularly useful for encasing fizzy drinks. 

Other common forms of packaging include polypropylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – each with their own characteristics.

Doing a comprehensive search online will allow you to determine the benefits of each and what is best for the packaging of your particular product.