It can’t be denied that Plastics are now used almost everywhere. Be its use in a manufacturing plant, or in making a portable chair and many more…
The main uses of plastics are listed below in easy bullet points-
- 1) 1. To make Rigid Plastic containers (RPC)-
- 2) 2. Flexible Plastic Films-
- 3) 3. Combination with paperboards
- 4) 4. Use as a Diaphragm for product protection
- 5) 6. Pouring and dispensing devices
- 6) 7. To group individual packs into multipacks
- 7) 8. Plastic films for Shrink or stretch wrapping
- 8) 9. Plastic films used as labels on bottles and jars
- 9) 10. Plastics used as components of coatings, adhesives & inks
1. To make Rigid Plastic containers (RPC)-
A Rigid plastic container is so rigid that it maintains the same shape, whether it is empty or full. The main uses of RPC are in making bottles, jars, pots, tubs, and trays, etc. The minimum volume of an RPC can be at least 236.588mL (8 US fluid ounces) and a maximum of 18.9271 Litres (5 gallons).
2. Flexible Plastic Films-
We can feel the presence of Flexible packaging in our daily lives. For example, the potato chips packets we eat in the form of snacks are packed in the Flexible packaging only. Flexible packaging may be layered with different plastics like Polypropylene (PP), PET Film, etc. One flexible packaging material, Cellophane is discussed in detail in this post.
Flexible plastic films are used in the form of bags, sachets, pouches, heat sealable flexible materials, etc.
Similarly, flexible packaging is also used in making sachets of hair shampoos, chocolate pellets for Cadbury GEMS, etc.
3. Combination with paperboards
We are becoming dependent on processes foods as it provides us convenience. One such example is Cardboard Milk Cartons. They are widely consumed nowadays due to their multiple servings with refrigeration and prevention from external contaminations.
In the above figure, we can see a Milk carton which is made by combining plastics with paperboard, so that strength is also maintained and flexibility is up to the mark.
4. Use as a Diaphragm for product protection
Plastic diaphragms are applied to jars or bottle openings to prevent any post packaging changes to the product. They prevent air insertion into the contents inside the bottles
5. Plastic bands for external Tamper-evident packaging
We observe that to open a few plastic jars, we have to rotate the cap either in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction, then only the seal breaks and we can finally open the cap. These types of tamper-evident packaging are used to avoid external tampering of the bottles.
6. Pouring and dispensing devices
Plastics are widely used to pour liquid food items in hot or cold servings, also to dispense large amounts of liquids such as water. They are made up of strong and durable food-grade plastic materials.
7. To group individual packs into multipacks
Individual cans or jars are sometimes difficult to transport, so grouping individual packs into multipacks helps to ease transportation. Plastic containers having grooves to hold multiple jars are used for grouping.
For example, high cone rings are used to collate multiple cans and beers.
8. Plastic films for Shrink or stretch wrapping
Stretch wrapping is a tight wrapping of plastics like LDPE (Low-Density Poly-ethylene) around the product that may be perishable or not.
In Shrink wrapping, initially, a plastic film is loosely wrapped around a product and then the application of heat shrinks the film completely around the product. Below shown image is of a slaughtered pig’s head being shrink wrapped
9. Plastic films used as labels on bottles and jars
The plastic films are widely used as labels on the plastic bottles to display the brand name and other mandatory information like price, nutritional information, bar code, expiry date, etc. These plastic labels are applied to the bottles either by the heat shrink process or by using glue to stick.
10. Plastics used as components of coatings, adhesives & inks
Plastics are applied as a coating on the products. However, before applying, plastics are mixed with other materials like Regenerated Cellulose, paperboard, aluminum foil, etc. to increase the properties of the materials. Plastics are also added to the adhesives for the same purpose.
So, these 10 points enlist the basic modern uses of plastics in food packaging.
Please comment on what you are feeling !!
Content Reference- Plastics in food packaging 174 – MARK J. KIRWAN and JOHN W. STRAWBRIDGE