In clear plastic box manufacturing, there are only a few main types of clear plastics utilized-which are then divided into many more classifications depending on their chemical composition and properties. One of the more common well-known examples is polystyrene. Packaging is one of the primary uses of polystyrene, but clear plastic box packaging can also come in a wide array of choices. It is important to know the difference between some of these polystyrenes, namely general-purpose polystyrene (GPPS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). At Alpha Rho, we work with GPPS to manufacture our large assortment of rigid plastic boxes — some are standard and in stock, others can be custom-made to specification, providing the volume is large enough (100s of thousands of parts). To help you gain a better understanding of the different types of clear plastic custom boxes with lids that we manufacture, we’ve created this helpful guide below. Read along in chronological order or jump to the section(s) that interest you most.

The Difference Between GPPS and HIPS

General purpose polystyrene (GPPS), also known as crystal-clear polystyrene, is fully transparent and rigid, and is widely used in food packaging applications or jewel cases. Back in the day, the most common application of GPPS was seen in the cases that enclosed CDs. Apart from being FDA compliant, it is also low-cost, X-ray resistant, free from odor and taste, and easy to process. As an added bonus, GPPS is also entirely recyclable. High impact polystyrene (HIPS), on the other hand, is impact resistant-at the cost of not being naturally clear or transparent. It can be easily painted on and glued, and can be used with heat shrink tape and other sealing methods quite easily. It is economical and easily molded, but it’s increased moisture absorption can limit its uses. HIPS has a matte finish and is a preferred material for thermoforming. A common application of HIPS is yogurt cups. While HIPS has higher impact strength, GPPS is better suited for storage and packaging purposes because of its transparency. GPPS can be molded into exciting shapes, such as that of a treasure chest or a heart to serve as candy boxes for gifting. Alpha Rho’s clear rigid plastic boxes are perfect for storage-enabling you to see the contents of the box through its high-gloss finish. Since GPPS is FDA compliant, it is completely safe to use our boxes for food storage. Because our food-related clients know our plastic containers for food are non-toxic, we have developed a strong, repeat client base of bakers, candy makers, and other creators of fine confectionery items. They also appreciate how our see through safe plastic food containers support sales of their products since prospective clients can see their enticing goodies through the clear plastic box top. Here are some of the benefits associated with GPPS plastic packaging:
  • FDA compliant-non-toxic
  • Odorless
  • Good dimensional stability
  • Low cost compared to other materials
  • Easy to paint, glue, and print on
  • Excellent aesthetic qualities
  • Perfect for long-term use

Different Forms of GPPS Boxes

GPPS boxes come in a variety of shapes and forms. Discussed below are a few of the common examples, and each of their specific benefits and design information. Learn how each of these dependable, plastic, packaging solutions are made.
Hinged Lid Plastic Boxes Plastic boxes with hinged lids are ideal for storing important valuables (i.e. beads, jewelry, nuts, bolts, and other hardware) — helping ensure these essentials never get lost or misplaced. The hinged lid box design ensures that the lid is always connected to the box, so lids don’t get lost either.  Items stored in clear plastic boxes with lids are far less likely to sustain damage from outside factors since the lid is secured and reverts to a closed position when not in use. Some hinged lid boxes also permit users the opportunity to secure them with small locks, which helps to further safeguard stored items. Another big benefit of a plastic box with hinged lid is not having to fumble with the lid in order to remove or secure it. With the hinged design, it literally just flips onto the box to close. All things considered, a plastic container with hinged lid (a flip top plastic box) is an incredibly user friendly and convenient packing solution. For the aforementioned reason, many refer to hinged lid plastic boxes as flip top boxes or as plastic containers with attached lids. Hinged plastic boxes are available in a great variety of shapes and sizes — their two-part construction allows for more creative freedom in design compared to its friction fit plastic box counterparts. This creative freedom also lends the hinged lid box to being highly customizable — contact us to see if we can meet your plastic storage box specifications. Friction Fit Boxes The construction of friction fit plastic boxes involves a separate/disconnected/detached cover and bottom. Each plastic box consists of two pieces, and is therefore, not a single “entity” (as is the case with the hinged box). Friction fit boxes are ideal for just about every type of application, although they typically don’t offer the added security benefit available with the hinged plastic box form. One disadvantage associated with this style of plastic boxes is that because the top and bottom are separate, matching pieces can be lost or misplaced over time. Despite this, there are also a few notable advantages worth mentioning about this style of plastic packaging: Compartment Boxes Compartment boxes (sectioned plastic containers) truly combine some of the best features of both hinged lid plastic boxes and friction fit plastic boxes. The covers of these sectional boxes stay attached through use of a sturdy hinge, they feature a compact design, and they’re exceedingly easy to stack and store. Compartment storage boxes are ideal for storing candies, medications, jewelry, arts and craft supplies, and hardware. They also make for great fishing tackle boxes and small tool boxes like craft tool boxes. The various compartments within this form of plastic packaging allow for distinct organization of the box’s contents — making it a great storage solution for dividing similar items with slightly different properties. Additionally, the transparency of the compartment storage boxes allows you and others to see exactly what’s inside, making everything clearly visible and accessible — a reason why these boxes serve well as boxes for tools or to showcase products you are selling. Round Top Plastic Boxes Round top plastic boxes are made with a friction fit design — no hinges, with a rounded shape. These round plastic containers are great for storing liquids or dry materials. The rounded design leaves out corners, meaning it can fit products with rounded edges far more efficiently than hard-angled packaging. Rounded top boxes are also comfortable to hold and effortlessly easy to label. Check out our selection of round top boxes and round plastic containers to find your perfect fit. Heart Shaped Plastic Boxes However you refer to them – heart shaped gift boxes, heart candy box, Valentines candy box, etc., our heart shaped boxes make for a very attractive and special way to house food/confectionery items, jewelry, other gift items and other treats. Of course, they’re a customer favorite to showcase Valentine’s Day goodies, but these heart boxes can be used any time of year to make whatever they house look special!

How Alpha Rho Can Help with Your Rigid Packaging Needs

As the largest manufacturer of high-quality rigid plastic boxes in New England, Alpha Rho has been a leading supplier of injection-molded plastic boxes, with a reputation for providing dependable plastic packaging solutions for over 50 years. Our custom rigid plastic boxes — compartment, hinged, friction fit, custom shapes — are used extensively in multiple industries, such as retail and hobby, food and confectionery, medical/dental, electronics and industrial. Contact us for recommendations, orders, and assistance finding the perfect look and fit for your products. Whether it’s a candy box, gift box, cosmetic box, candle box, jewelry box, party favor box, dental apparatus box, electronics box, or something all together different, our plastic boxes with lids have got you covered!