Frequently Asked Questions
What is the container material made of?
The brown containers are a 0.024 thickness KraftPak. Kraftpak is an unbleached, uncoated virgin paperboard that is commonly used in bakery and beverage 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 printability. For high volume requirements of millions of containers where speed of assembly is critical, our containers can be machine formed. For this automated equipment we will use a combination Kraft and Solid Unbleached Sulfate (SUS). This white side is a variation of Coated Unbleached Kraft Paperboard (CUK), that is direct food contact compliant, is strong in moist environments, and offers a white printable surface created by coating it with a naturally-occurring mineral. This material is commonly used for beverage containment.
Why don't you use recycled material?
There is a certain percent of post-industrial material recycled content in our paperboard but we wanted to ensure that we had materials that would meet food safety standards with consistent quality levels.
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 $2,000 and $15,000 depending on the size, material and quantities desired. Lead time can range between 4 to 10 weeks depending on schedules, material availability and quantities desired.
How many colors can be printed on the containers?
KraftPak and SUS 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% at any recycling facility or program that takes paper.
Are the containers compostable?
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. With the Half Pint there is a small percent of glue used to create the easy-open auto bottom that is food-safe. To be certified compostable would require third party certification of the entire system of paper, ink and any glue.
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 protect your produce from the UV light emitted from grocery stores' fluorescent display lights.
Do the containers fit in master cartons?
Yes, the containers take up the same volume as their plastic counterparts.
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 tens of thousands 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 SUS 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.
Why is the Sustainable Produce Container more expensive than standard plastic clamshells?
In volumes of 5 million per year or more it is the same price as plastic clamshells. 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 volumes. Presently our container is less expensive than any other environmentally-friendly options on the market that have an attached lid.
Why is the Half Pint an auto-bottom assembly?
We are always seeking to improve our products. The Low Profile Pint and Quart were 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.
What options do you have to speed up assembly?
A low cost folding jig is available on our website for the Low Profile Pint and Half Pint, a heavy duty folding jig that at least doubles speed is available for approximately $400 (https://www.fastpack.net/).
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, Low Profile Pint cartons can be formed at speeds of 120 cartons/minute. These high efficiency automated tray formers are available for approximately $120,000. 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.