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 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 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
- Different Forms of GPPS Boxes
- How Alpha Rho Can Help with Your Rigid Packaging Needs
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. 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.
Here are some other benefits associated with GPPS packaging:
- FDA compliant—non-toxic
- 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.
Hinged boxes 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 box design ensures that the lid is always connected to the box. 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 boxes also permit users the opportunity to secure them with small locks, which helps to further safeguard stored items. Another big benefit to hinged boxes 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, it’s an incredibly user friendly and convenient packing solution.
Hinged 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 counterparts. This creative freedom also lends the hinged box to being highly customizable—contact us to see if we can meet your specifications.
Friction Fit Boxes
The construction of friction fit boxes involves a separate cover and bottom. Each box consists of two pieces—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 box form. One disadvantage associated with this style 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:
- Because they don’t include a hinge, these boxes are usually more compact and easier to stack and organize—a helpful attribute when it comes to storage.
- Many consumers prefer the “sleeker” friction fit look, as some see the presence of hinges as unsightly.
Compartment boxes truly combine some of the best features of both hinged and friction fit boxes. Their covers stay attached through use of a sturdy hinge, they feature a compact design, and they’re exceedingly easy to stack and store. Compartment boxes are ideal for storing candies, medications, jewelry, craft supplies, and hardware. The various compartments within this form of 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 packaging allows you to see exactly what’s inside, making everything clearly visible and accessible.
Round top boxes are made with a friction fit design—no hinges, with a rounded shape. This form of box is 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 to find your perfect fit.
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, and industrial. Contact us for recommendations, orders, and assistance finding the perfect look and fit for your products.