Storing food and beverage products is vastly different from handling consumer goods like apparel, electronics, and furniture. Food and beverages will only last so long on the shelf. If these products expire or are mishandled and stored improperly as they make their way through the supply chain, and your products might end up in the local landfill instead of the homes and mouths of consumers. Continue reading
It’s a great time to be a consumer. With just a few clicks, consumers can order just about anything online and have it delivered to their front door within a few days or even just a few hours. Major e-commerce players like Amazon and Walmart are rapidly changing the supply chain to speed up the delivery process. Smaller companies have to get their packages from point A to B as fast as possible if they want to compete with major corporations. Continue reading
We get a lot of questions surrounding our IBC totes, as they’re some of the most versatile and durable warehouse containers available. But we understand that, because of this, there is also some confusion about what they can and can’t be used for. People often ask us whether or not food-grade IBC totes are temperature-controlled or not. The short answer is no, and the long answer is no, except for insulated bulk containers. Let’s cover the basics of these storage containers so that you get the most out of them in your warehouse, fulfillment center or manufacturing facility. Continue reading
\If there’s one concern that every owner of a food-based business has in common, it’s how to handle the fragile nature of food effectively. You not only want to keep it safe for consumption, but fresh enough that your customers are able to fully experience its wholesomeness and flavor. If you’re doing business on a large scale, then you’re no doubt concerned with finding the best way to get your goods from place to place in one piece as well.
Many businesses still rely solely on disposable, single-use shipping and storage options like corrugated containers. However, while disposable containers may be familiar and convenient, they’re far from the best way to ship and store your edible goods. Reusable totes are quickly replacing them for a number of very good reasons.
- Reusable totes help you save money in the long run.
Naturally, there are certain recurring costs that come along with running a business. The cost of packing materials and shipping containers is only one of these, but it’s a very important one. On the surface, corrugated cardboard boxes and other single-use options absolutely seem like the more economical option.
However, while it’s true that reusable options like totes, crates, and wire baskets do cost more up front, they’re not representative of a recurring cost. You use them again, and again, and again instead. You can save even more money by purchasing perfectly good totes on a secondhand basis from a supplier like Container Exchanger. When and if you ever are finished with the totes, you can simply sell them back for a partial return on your original investment.
- Keep your merchandise fresh, safe, and free of damage in transit.
As touched on above, food is nothing if not fragile, so it’s not hard to see why the safe shipping and storage of edible goods presents such a challenge. For the most part, disposable containers do protect food. However, they’re simply not sturdy enough to really guard against the unexpected.
Shipping containers are frequently dropped, bumped, or jarred before they reach their destination – sometimes severely. If you’re only relying on cardboard to protect your merchandise, then you’re probably very used to customers complaining of bruised produce or baked goods that look like they’re practically pulverized. You probably have even written off the occasional damaged or replacement shipment as part of the cost of doing business.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Reusable food grade totes are built to last, so they’re many times more durable than their cardboard cousins. Making the switch will mean significantly fewer damaged shipments and much happier customers.
- Store your merchandise under ideal conditions.
Just as food can be incredibly difficult to ship, it’s also a real challenge to store properly. Food grade totes will be easier to stack without risk of damaging the delicate contents within, so you can finally make the absolute most of limited pantry or warehouse space. Occasional mishaps like spills won’t damage your containers, either, as they won’t soak up moisture the way cardboard boxes will.
Since food grade totes were made with the storage of food in mind, they’re already designed to help facilitate the right conditions for long-term storage as well. Keep baked goods from going stale so quickly. Protect delicate seasonal produce from getting bruised or becoming moldy. Rest easy knowing that your totes are 100% FDA-compliant and safe for storing food, so you never have to worry about exposure to toxins or chemicals that have no business being anywhere near food.
- Become an environmentally conscious business owner.
Doing business in a way that minimizes the associated impact on the environment to the greatest extent possible isn’t just for huge global corporations anymore. It’s the responsibility of every business owner. That said, making the switch to reusable, sustainable packaging options like food totes is a great way to drastically reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
You’ll significantly reduce packing waste. You can take advantage of the totes’ stackable design to fully maximize available space on shipping vehicles and freezer trucks, allowing you to reduce the amount of fuel your business uses. It hardly hurts that becoming more environmentally conscious also helps save you even more money.
At the end of the day, there are a million reasons to get your business on board with the current shift toward environmentally sustainable packaging. Start experiencing the benefits first hand when you make the switch today!
If you’re interested in living a cleaner, greener, more environmentally conscious lifestyle to the greatest extent possible, then you’re in excellent company. Millions of people are getting on board with the ongoing campaign to reduce carbon footprints worldwide and cut down on waste in as many ways as possible. Naturally, reusing perfectly good containers is a huge part of that effort.
However, reports that it isn’t safe to reuse plastic drinking bottles have people questioning whether or not it’s safe to reuse plastic containers of any kind under any circumstances. Let’s take a closer look at plastic container reuse today, and get to the bottom of when and where it’s safe to reuse a given option. Spoiler Alert: It’s not all plastics that are potentially hazardous. Telling the difference is as simple as getting in the know as to the different types of plastics out there on the market today. Here we’ll examine the truth behind the rumors about plastic, and discuss how to tell the difference between good and bad options.
The reports of plastic bottles being unsafe are rooted in recent revelations that chemicals present in a particular plastic called Lexan can be toxic. Also known as “Plastic #7”, Lexan has been linked to multiple ailments by multiple studies. These ailments include, but are not necessarily limited to, breast cancer, uterine cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, hormonal imbalance, and decreased levels of testosterone in both men and women. The reports are even bleaker when it comes to the potential havoc that can be wrought on a child’s developing system.
The issues with Lexan are caused by a compound called Bisphenol A. Also known as BPA for short, Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical that can interfere with the hormonal messaging system the body relies on for many of its normal, healthy functions. It is thought that reusing bottles and plastic containers that contain BPA can result in superficial cracks, blemishes, and dings that can release the chemical into the liquids or foods stored in said container.
BPA is most often found in a variety of commonly used plastics. These include plastic reusable water bottles of the type used by hikers, fitness enthusiasts, and runners, to stay hydrated while exercising. They also include quite a lot of the baby bottles and sippy cups on the market. While experts do agree that BPA is toxic and potentially problematic, it’s important to note that the amount of BPA likely to leach into drinks, water, or food is most likely too small to cause major problems. That said, if you’ve been using plastics that contain BPA, you’re most likely fine. There is, however, some concern over the possible effects of cumulative exposure sustained over time, so you should discontinue use in favor of alternatives immediately.
In light of studies conducted by such trustworthy entities as the Berkeley Ecology Center and the Environment California Research & Policy Center, it’s not terribly difficult to understand why some people want nothing to do with any plastics whatsoever. (Better safe than sorry, right?) However, it’s important to note that it isn’t all plastics that pose a potential risk.
In addition to Plastic #7, consumers are advised to avoid excessive reuse of anything made from Plastic #1 as well. (Plastic #1 is also called polyethylene terephthalate, PET, or PETE.) PET plastic is the type of plastic used to make the great majority of disposable plastic juice, water, and soda bottles. In most cases, one or two reuses is considered to be safe. However, when such bottles are old or are in less than pristine condition, they are thought to leach DEHP – another potentially harmful chemical compound that has been linked to certain cancers.
Another plastic to avoid would be Plastic #3 (also known as polyvinyl chloride or PVC). PVC can leach additional chemicals that can interfere with healthy hormonal function, as well as release certain carcinogens into the atmosphere should they be incinerated, as they would be if added to many landfills. Plastic #6 (polystyrene or PS) can also potentially leach styrene into foods and drinks. Styrene has also been found to have links to many cancers.
So Which Types of Plastics Are Safe to Reuse?
As touched on above, the most reliable way to make sure that you’re reusing only plastics that are safe for the purpose is to pay attention to the numbers and codes attached to the items in question. Make a note of the numbers listed above, as those are the ones scientific studies have found to be potentially harmful.
On the other hand, the following plastics have not been found to have any major problems with leaching carcinogenic or otherwise harmful chemicals. They are considered by the American Chemistry Council to be safe for reuse, once properly washed using hot, soapy water, just as you would use to clean the rest of your dishes or containers.
As touched on above, you can reuse PET containers on a very limited basis. PET containers are probably the most common type of plastic container out there on the market today. Example products that come in PET containers include ketchup, bottled water, juice, salad dressing, peanut butter, and soft drinks. However, it’s important to note that most manufacturers create these bottles for one-time use. That said, health authorities recommend reusing each bottle no more than once, ideally.
Never expose PET bottles to hot temperatures, as this can trigger the leaching effect that is so potentially worrisome. Also avoid reusing or drinking from PET bottles/containers that appear compromised or damaged in any way.
HDPE (short for high-density polyethylene) belongs to a class of plastics that are known for being high in density. They are typically opaque instead of clear and are most commonly used to contain products like yogurt, margarine, milk, certain juices, and laundry detergents.
The American Chemistry Council has determined that it is safe to reuse HDPE bottles and containers once you have finished off the original contents. No proof has been found that this type of plastic leaches any type of harmful or carcinogenic chemicals or substances.
Also known as low-density polyethylene, LDPE is most commonly found in products like trash bags, disposable grocery store bags, and plastic wrap generally meant for food storage. It is considered safe to reuse within reason. Before deciding to reuse something made of LDPE, consumers are advised to carefully consider the original use of the item.
It’s also important to note that this type of plastic is lightweight and incredibly thin, in comparison to other types of plastic. That said, it’s important to avoid exposing it to high temperatures. If it melts or burns, it can emit chemicals that are potentially toxic, so be careful – especially in regards to microwave use. Products like Saran Wrap should always be removed from food containers before microwaving or otherwise reheating.
Those worried about the reports of certain reusable drinking bottles or baby items not being safe should keep an eye out for PP (polypropylene) as an alternative. Current research shows no evidence that PP has the same issue with leaching toxic chemicals that Plastic #7 has. In addition to baby bottles and sports bottles, PP is commonly used to make products like drinking straws, yogurt, deli soup containers, many toys, syrup, and certain margarine containers.
That said, the most important thing to remember when determining which plastic containers are and are not safe to reuse is the coding used to inform the consumer as to the type of plastic present. Get familiar with the different varieties out there. Make a mini-cheat sheet you can keep in your wallet, purse, or phone, in case you forget. Stick to the safe options, avoid the potentially toxic options, and always be sure to thoroughly wash any plastic container before reusing.
Of course, many consumers are concerned with whether or not products like Tupperware that are designed for food storage are safe to use. The short answer is “yes.” The vast majority of food storage products manufactured by Tupperware, Ziploc, Saran, Glad, and Hefty are made of either LDPE or PP plastics. Therefore, they have been deemed perfectly safe for use by public health authorities.
Concerned consumers are, however, advised to continue to study and pay attention to the numbers and codes attached to any plastic product. Some products produced by popular brands may pose a small risk, as they are polycarbonate-based. Example product lines include certain micro-steamers on the market, as well as certain table collections. Just get into the habit knowing your plastics, and you’ll be just fine.
Not sure you can keep everything straight … or simply don’t want to attempt it? You can always forgo plastics altogether, if you prefer. Glass alternatives like Pyrex are always safe, as they do not contain any sort of chemicals that can leach their way into your food and drinks. When it comes to water bottles, aluminum is a hardy and safe alternative to plastic or PVC.
Here in the age of environmental consciousness, more and more companies are making the switch to reusable packaging for shipping and storage purposes, and with good reason. Reusable containers aren’t just better for the environment. They’re more cost-effective than high-waste options like disposable cardboard boxes, when the costs are calculated over time. They’re also far more space effective. Since they’re stronger, they allow for containers to be stacked on top of one another, letting merchants make the most of warehouse storage space and transportation space within trucks or cargo bays.
They are also safe for perpetual and indefinite reuse, as they are made from plastics that are considered perfectly safe to reuse. This means that if your company relies on reusable plastic containers to ship or store food products or other consumables, you can rest easy that you’re not tainting your products or potentially harming your customers in any way.However, as with containers meant for home food storage, there are plenty of alternatives available if for any reason you simply aren’t comfortable with plastics. Reusable industrial containers can just as easily be made out of wood or metal. They also come in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and styles so you’ll never wind up stuck using a container that’s anything less than perfectly functional.
How Should Used or Unwanted Plastic Containers Be Disposed Of?
In light of the potential toxins that many plastic containers can release if burned or melted, environmentally conscious consumers are advised not to dispose of any sort of plastic with the rest of their household garbage. Along with glass, paper, metal, and other such substances, plastic should always be recycled according to proper methods.If your neighborhood’s waste disposal company has provided your household or business with dedicated containers for recyclables, definitely use those to dispose of your plastics. In the event you haven’t been provided with specific containers for this purpose, you are urged to take it upon yourself to transport your unwanted plastics and other recyclables to an appropriate facility. You’ll be doing the earth and all the living things that call it home a huge service!
If your business is one of the many that relies on reusable plastic containers for shipping and storage, as detailed above, you should consider contacting a company that specializes in recycling, refurbishing, and reselling such containers. The chances are excellent that, once they’ve ceased to be useful to you, the items are still in excellent enough working condition to be of great use to another company. Even if they’re a little worse for wear (or even broken), it’s more than likely that, with a little refurbishment, they could be restored to full working order.
Companies that specialize in reusable containers are great resources for obtaining new containers. Used options are every bit as strong and trustworthy as brand new alternatives. Plus, you can usually get them at a discount, leaving you with that much more room in your budget to invest in other areas. Explore the possibilities today!
For those interested in transporting materials quickly and efficiently from their business warehouse to a storage facility, look no further than buying a used tote. While buying totes at retail can sometimes be an expensive process, used totes offer all of the benefits that totes and trays offer, but at a cheaper price.
There are a number of different tote styles that can be purchased secondhand online. These include: food totes and trays, stacking totes, nesting totes, stacking totes, and organizer bins.
There are a number of online retailers that specialize in selling used totes and trays of all varieties. used totes for sale are available on eBay, Craig’s List, and other auction websites. Another great place to buy used trays is via restaurant or manufacturing forums. Oftentimes, restaurant owners will be selling the equipment and trays from their ventures at deeply discounted costs.
Because totes and trays are constructed of versatile plastics, used trays have the same capabilities as brand new totes. Thankfully, then, you do not have to worry about sacrificing durability or quality if you choose to purchase trays secondhand.
Food totes are great for transporting baked goods from a bakery to a restaurant or grocery store. These trays are smooth, which eliminates the possibility that a plastic bag full of freshly baked muffins snags on the container’s edge.
Organizer bins are ideal for small items that an individual needs quick access to. For example, these small bins are great for nails, screws, and other similar pieces of hardware. Organizer bins also work for arts and crafts supplies or jewelry.
For larger goods, nesting totes or stacking totes offer the size and durability you need to safely store and stack heavier objects. These storage boxes are much more durable and versatile than cardboard boxes, which have a tendency to break apart or wear down over a short period of time.
Produce and agriculture bins come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. There are small plastic totes, often referred to as handheld totes, which can be used for produce harvesting, storage and shipment. Large corrugated cardboard boxes with vent holes are great for bigger produce items such as watermelons. Reusable bulk plastic containers with mesh sides can be used for an assortment of harvesting needs, like melons, citrus, apples and pears.
Here you will find an offering of each type of harvesting tote and produce bin available through Container Exchanger. Click on one of the links below to narrow down your search for the perfect agriculture container.
|Reusable Agriculture Bulk Containers|
For bakery businesses looking for a cheap, efficient, and effective way to transport their baked goods to clients, look no further than bakery trays. Bakery trays, which are usually constructed out of lightweight plastic, are easy to carry and are incredibly durable. And, because these open-top containers are stackable, bakery trays are also frequently used by food manufacturers, where a consistent organizational system is necessary.
From a structural standpoint, bakery trays are perforated because perforation lowers the weight of the containers without sacrificing the strength or impact protection of the tray. Additionally, these perforations and ventilated areas provide excellent air movement for baked goods that need to maintain a consistent temperature.
Other characteristics found in bakery trays include: A nestable design that allows baking companies to save room during delivery or when the trays are not in use. More specifically, this nestable orientation saves over ½ the space of non-nested containers.
Bakery totes are also smooth to the touch, which eliminates the possibility of plastic bakery bags snagging on a tray’s rough edges or corners.
These straight-walled containers also have dividers that help protect baked goods and keep them organized. On the bottom of each tote, there is reinforced footing that maximizes stability when the trays are stacked on top of each other.Bakery trays are constructed out of HDPE plastic, which is a very strong form of plastic that will last for several years. Because the trays are so durable, they offer companies significant cost savings over traditional cardboard boxes. Most importantly, though, the plastic used in bakery totes meets all FDA standards, making the material safe to use around food.
These bakery totes do not require lids because of their nested design. Besides plastic, these totes are also constructed of wire mesh or fiberglass. To learn more about bakery trays, click here.
Food grade totes are used in the manufacturing and transport of mass produced foods. The totes come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the purpose of the industry using them. Food totes are generally stackable to make storage and shipping easier. Totes that are used for baked goods are generally vented and have very smooth surfaces to prevent the plastic bags the food is packaged in from snagging. The FDA has stringent requirements, so food totes are made from virgin materials that can tolerate heavy industrial machinery.
Types of food totes
Plastic Stacking Totes
These are generally used for the storage or shipping of specialized products and food. They are usually vented and come in a variety of sizes including 15x12x4, 48x15x11 and 24x15x14. These vented bins are stackable and straight walled containers that are suited to plastic parts and small assemblies as well as food.
These are often used in manufacturing projects in progress. These are solid totes that can store many kinds of products and work well on conveyors. They also rarely contain internal dunnage, so they stack very well together. Most of the time, these types of nesting totes are made of HDPE, which is an extremely strong material that allows the totes to last for several years. They frequently come in sized 28x18x10 and 24x20x8.