Frequently Asked Questions
How do you fold the Sustainable Produce Container?
In order to make the Sustainable Produce Container a box that could be machine formed very quickly for high volume users, all of our sizes are available in the "Kliklok" style. Here's how to hand fold any of the reversible sizes: FOLD
What is your pricing for all the different containers?
Click here to open up a PDF of our latest retail and wholesale pricing: PRICE SHEET
Why is the Sustainable Produce Container more expensive than standard plastic clamshells?
In volumes of 5 million per year or more the Sustainable Produce Container is within a penny of the plastic clamshell price. After the capital equipment is paid for the grower would actually save money since it would cost less to ship and store these containers because they take up less volume. Plastic clamshells have been around since their introduction in the mid-1980s. As the number of our containers sold increases we expect to be able to lower the cost for the smaller volume buyers. Presently our container is less expensive (in some cases by half!) than any other environmentally-friendly options on the market that have an attached lid.
How can I save money on the containers?
Buy in volume: If you order even a mixed pallet you get the pallet pricing for each size/style container on your mixed pallet
Buy as a group: Get together with other growers in your area and order a pallet, the freight costs become negligible vs shipping single cases UPS.
Buy with a grant: Some agricultural funding covers packaging costs, click below to find out more.
KENTUCKY PROUD PROMOTIONAL GRANT
FARMER VETERAN COALITION
USDA VALUE ADDED PRODUCER GRANTS
What is the container material made of?
The brown containers are made from a Kraftpak material between .018 and .024 thick. Kraftpak is an unbleached, uncoated virgin paperboard that is commonly used in bakery boxes. It is a low density, high-yield product which provides outstanding strength and durability while using less fiber. The unique two-ply design offers a consistent surface with an attractive natural brown appearance and good single color printability. It is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable in a home compost setting.
The white/brown reversible containers are made from a combination of Kraft on one side and a clay-coating on the other side and is known as Coated Unbleached Kraft paperboard (CUK or Aquakote). This is direct food contact compliant, is strong in moist environments with a high wet strength to handle moisture transitions (enough to be immersed in water) and offers a white printable full-color surface created by coating it with a naturally occurring mineral. This material is commonly used for beverage containment. It is recyclable and biodegradable but takes longer to compost in a home compost.
Why don't you use recycled material to save trees?
10-15% of the paperboard container comes from post-industrial material recycled materials. This is primarily trimmings from folding carton and corrugated plants and damaged or otherwise unusable rolls generated within WestRock's system. We are not utilizing post-consumer fiber because we wanted to ensure that we had materials that would meet food safety standards with consistent quality levels as far as strength. Also, trees are a crop in North America that are well-managed to ensure the sustainability of the companies that are harvesting them. On average there are 6-7 trees planted for every single tree harvested resulting in more forest lands, not less.
What other materials can the containers be made of?
For high enough volumes we also can offer a European-produced paperboard that is made up of 50% grass fiber.
What would be the cost and time to create custom dies for larger or smaller containers?
Estimated die costs can range between $2,500 and $15,000 depending on the size, material and quantities desired. Lead time can range between 8 to 12 weeks depending on schedules, material availability and quantities desired.
How many colors can be printed on the containers?
KraftPak and CUK can be printed with full color designs. Detailed graphics will display better on the white but if the brown Kraft side is desired then darker, single colors are recommended.
Are the containers recyclable?
100% recyclable at any recycling facility or program that takes paper.
Are the containers compostable? Biodegradable?
Moisture and heat levels will influence how it will break down. In our backyard compost bins the Kraftpak has completely degraded within 10-14 days and all but the .024 mil sizes are naturally certified compostable from the paper companies we buy from. With the Half Pint there is a small percent of glue used to create the easy-open auto bottom that is food-safe. The CUK containers take longer to compost in a backyard compost due to the clay coating and wet strength features so the "reversible" material is considered recyclable and biodegradable but not "certified" compostable. Plus, to be certified compostable would require third party certification of the entire system of paper, ink and any glue. All containers are recyclable and biodegradable.
How long will it take for the product to break down in both aerobic & anaerobic environments?
The KraftPak containers have broken down in an unturned anaerobic compost pile within 10-14 days.
Are the containers Kosher?
We are not aware if either material has been tested to be Kosher.
Are the containers stackable?
While offering the same volume as a plastic clamshell, the SPC offers a much sturdier package that can be stacked at least double the recommended grocery store standard of 2 clamshells high. This will prevent the bruising that can lead to deterioration. And since they are a solid container except for a few vents, they may also possibly protect your produce from the UV light emitted from grocery stores' fluorescent display lights.
Do the containers fit in master trays?
Yes, the containers take up the same volume as their plastic counterparts plus we have created a single master tray that with a few popups can hold all sizes that we have created: MASTER TRAY
Have you done any testing with produce in the containers?
Third party testing has not been pursued at this time but since 2018 we've sold millions of containers to a variety of farmers who use them for mushrooms, berries, tomatoes, and a variety of produce with no problems.
Could produce in these containers withstand 10 weeks in Controlled Atmosphere Storage?
That is unknown at this time. In unofficial testing we have kept berries and other produce in the containers for over 2 weeks in refrigerators with no adverse effects.
Do the containers conform to FDA regulations (Regulation and Deregulation of Additives for Use in Food Contact Paper in the U.S.) for direct food contact?
Does this meet BRC Global standards for papermaking and conversion?
Do you have appropriate food safety documentation?
Documentation can be provided concerning both CUK and Kraftpak.
Why is there limited product visibility?
The design accounted for as much product visibility as possible while maintaining the structural integrity of the box.
Will these work for leafy greens?
If you were using vented clamshells for produce they are equivalent in terms of keeping things fresh. If you are using unvented clamshells for things like leafy greens you would get a day or two. Some growers tell their customers that the box is just an eco-friendly carrier and that they should either consume or transfer their greens to an airtight container when they get home. Customers who are sick of plastic are happy to oblige. Other growers use biodegradable bags inside the boxes. I have found a very thin mil food safe bag that works that we can include a sample of when a Sample Pack is ordered, if requested.
Why is the Half Pint Kraft an auto-bottom assembly?
We are always seeking to improve our products. Our first size - the Low Profile Pint Kraft - was designed to ship flat and be assembled by the farmer as needed. Since the Half Pint was smaller and would hold less produce, less time should be spent assembling and we went with the auto-bottom design. Both sizes are now also available in reversible Kliklok so that they can be machine-formed to meet high volume grower needs and take up less cardboard but the Half Pint Kraft autobottom is still popular due to its assembly speed amongst our CSA and grocery delivery customers.
What options do you have to speed up assembly?
What options do you have to speed assembly for commercial packing and automated filling and closing?
In order to keep up with automated filling machines, the new Kliklok designs versions of all sizes can be formed at speeds of up to 120 cartons/minute. These high-efficiency automated tray formers are available for approximately $55,000 refurbished (FOLDING MACHINE), $200,000 new. To seal the lid like a cereal box at those same speeds a high-quality closer is available for around $200,000. Both machines would qualify for grant money as a sustainable added value endeavor. For the Half Pint auto-bottom size, automated equipment is available for around $70,000 that will do speeds of 40-50 cartons/minute.
Why are there no refunds on the Sustainable Produce Containers?
The heavy boxes that hold the many containers weaken as they are shipped multiple places, the carbon footprint is added to needlessly and since these containers are to be used for food and we can't be certain what happened to them between shipping from you to us, we can't resell them. We recommend you order a very reasonably priced sample kit before making your purchase. If we make a mistake and send the wrong size we will find a charity nearby to you to gift the containers to and will refund your money. We recommend ordering our very reasonably priced free sample pack before making your major purchase: SAMPLES
Do you have distributors for these containers?
We do and growing! Distributors can buy pallets of the different sizes or start small and buy one pallet with all 8 sizes. The pallet cost is approximately 35% under the retail prices on our website. Distributors can charge over these prices to account for their shipping and their other operating costs. We provide high and low-resolution professional photos for print and website along with text content and any videos already produced. Please contact Linda@ SunSugarFarms.com if your company is interested in becoming a distributor!