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Reusable plastic tub for home storage
A plastic bottle of antifreeze
Home storage containers with latched lids
Stackable reusable plastic containers

Plastic containers are containers made exclusively or partially of plastic. Plastic containers are ubiquitous either as single-use or reuseable/durable plastic cups, plastic bottles, plastic bags, foam food containers, Tupperware, plastic tubes, clamshells, cosmetic containers, up to intermediate bulk containers and various types of containers made of corrugated plastic. The entire packaging industry heavily depends on plastic containers or containers with some plastic content (e.g. plastic coating or when made of composite material), besides paperboard and other materials. Food storage nowadays relies mainly on plastic food storage containers.

A basic but important distinction is between single-use / disposable and multi-use / durable containers. The former makes up a notable portion of the global plastic waste (e.g. toothpaste tubs, food delivery foam containers, most plastic bottles, etc.).

Because of the multitude of container applications, the types of plastic vary widely. Because of the material variety (combinations are no exception), the waste will make up a significant portion of plainly visible plastic pollution although some containers like bottles are recyclable.

Plastic has replaced traditional materials like wood, paperboard, and metal for the manufacture of containers because of its price, moldability/formability, durability and light weight.[1]


Trade groupsEdit

In the U.S., the industry is represented by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Closure & Container Manufacturers Association, Flexible Packaging Association, and others.

Global marketEdit

Asia Pacific dominated the global plastic packaging market in 2016. In second place comes North America. The pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries contributed the most to the use of plastic packaging products. During 2016, Asia Pacific accounted for more than 30 percent of the shares of the total volume consumption in this market.[2]

In the late 2010's, 150 companies signed up to be part of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's commitment to reduce plastic pollution. In a 2019 report, The Coca-Cola Company divulged the company created 3 million tons of plastic packaging in 2017 with Nestlé creating 1.7 million tons, Unilever creating 610,000 tons and Colgate-Palmolive nearly 300,000 tons.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ "Growth of the plastic packaging market in regard to regions". Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  3. ^ Staff, Writer (2019-03-14). "Coca-Cola reveals how much plastic it uses". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-03-15.


  • Soroka, W, "Fundamentals of Packaging Technology", IoPP, 2002, ISBN 1-930268-25-4
  • Soroka, W, Illustrated Glossary of Packaging Terminology, Institute of Packaging Professionals, [2]
  • Yam, K. L., "Encyclopedia of Packaging Technology", John Wiley & Sons, 2009, ISBN 978-0-470-08704-6