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Blog Cost of Plastic Boxes – Returnable Transit Packaging

Cost of Plastic Boxes – Returnable Transit Packaging

Cost of Plastic Boxes – Returnable Transit Packaging

Often people look a the cost of the boxes sold in DIY retail stores and the supermarkets and wonder why the boxes used in industry appear to be so much more expensive.

There are a few good reasons for this and they are very significant.

Like so many things in life you get what you pay for! Because these products are predominantly sold to industry they is very little cost difference due to the brand name of the manufacturer the reasons are down to cost of manufacturer and the quantity and quality of the raw materials used. At Industrial Plastic Boxes ( they only sell the best quality boxes.



The first main difference is the quality of the design. The returnable plastic boxes (totes) sold to industry are designed for strength and reuse. Key parts of this design include

  • Handling - no sharp edges, easy to lift
  • Cleanliness -easy to keep clean minimal places for dirt to stick

These design features do really represent any additional cost but make the ownership and handling of the boxes a much more pleasurable & safe activity


Raw Materials

There are two raw materials that matter, the quality of the plastic and the quantity and quality of the additives- mainly UV protector.

Plastic Type

Plastic boxes are made of one of two main plastic, either polypropylene (PPE) or HDPE (High density polyethylene). These two materials have benefits depending upon the use to which the box is going to be used.

a)  PPE

PPE is the most commonly used raw material; this plastic is more flexible than HDPE. Whilst flexibility is not a great feature of a plastic box (the difference in not very noticeable in normal use) it’s benefit is that is less brittle and is therefore less likely the crack or chip. The consequence of this is that boxes have a much longer working life and can be treated in a rougher way in their day-to-day life.

b)  HDPE

HDPE is a harder material than PPE and the boxes are less prone to scratching however this does mean that the boxes are slightly more brittle. The key benefit of HDPE is that is can be washed a much higher temperatures therefore enabling the boxes to be sterilised making them ideal for food products.

c)  Recycled Material

A key property of the plastic that makes it suitable of a long box life is the length of the polymers. As plastic gets recycled the polymer lengths get shorter each time it is recycled. The effect of this is the plastic becomes very brittle and inflexible. Additionally lots of heavy metals can build up over time. The high quality recycled boxes at only use material whose quality has been checked meaning these boxes perform just as well as containers made of virgin material. Thus they provide a robust environmentally sound alternative.


There are various additives that can be added to plastic to make it perform better as a box. The most important for these is UV protector. This stops the plastic becoming brittle and degrading in sunlight. This is the most significant difference between commercial and retail plastic boxes. The commercial boxes have enough UV protectors in them to ensure at least 5 years working in the fields of Spain. This means their life expectancy in the UK is considerably longer.



When choosing a returnable plastic container, box or tote ensure that you look at the design to make sure it meets your needs and buy from a trusted supplier who only provides the quality of box you need to last a number of years.


Industrial Plastic Boxes Author Box Box

Industrial Plastic Boxes

Industrial Plastic Boxes is a website designed to simply make purchasing of returnable packaging quick and easy.  Independent of any manufacturer Industrial Plastic Boxes aim is to be a simple easy and high service solution to sourcing returnable packaging.

Written By Box Box