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How Is General Purpose Polystyrene (GPPS) Different from High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)?

How Well Do You Know Your Polystyrene Plastic Boxes?

Inquiring about the different types of plastics is as good as asking how many varieties of cheese are out there. Well, essentially there is American, Swiss, cheddar, and mozzarella but then, there’s also Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gorgonzola, feta, Gruyere, and so on and so forth! You get the problem, right?

The same case can be made for plastics—and more specifically—polystyrene (PS). There are a few main types of plastics, but they’re divided into many more classifications depending on their chemical composition and properties, and one such type is polystyrene.

Packaging is one of the primary uses of polystyrene, but like the cheese predicament above, there are different types of packaging as well. 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 (100,000s of thousands of parts).

How Is GPPS Different from HIPS?

gpps-hips-polystyrene-plastic.jpgGeneral Purpose Polystyrene, 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.

High Impact Polystyrene, 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 has economical and easy manufacturability but is generally more expensive than GPPS. 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 boxes are perfect for storage—enabling you to see the contents of the box clearly. Since GPPS is FDA compliant, it is completely safe to use our boxes for food storage.

Here are some other properties that highlight the advantageousness of GPPS:

  • FDA compliant—non-toxic
  • Good dimensional stability
  • Low cost compared to other materials
  • Easy to paint, glue, and print on
  • Excellent aesthetic qualities

We are a hands-on company known for our agile response times and approachable customer service. Alpha Rho is the largest manufacturer of a wide assortment of stock and custom clear polystyrene lid and hinged plastic boxes for handling, packaging, and storage applications in New England. Click here to request free samples of our clear polystyrene plastic boxes.

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