About Plastic Materials

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About Plastic and Our Materials

To the naked eye, plastics may all seem to be identical. However, feeling them and understanding the composition of each plastic reveals that they are very different. The process of producing the plastics through extrusion and thermoforming is also very different for each, and more importantly for the end users, each plastic has unique packaging advantages for your unique solution.


Polystyrene (PS)

With Polystyrene, hot foods stay hot, cold foods stay cold and fresh foods stay fresh. From organic salads to spicy chili, polystyrene packaging offers more convenience and dining enjoyment for people on the go.


Oriented Polystyrene (OPS) or Biaxially Oriented (BOPS)

OPS has a wide range of physical properties which make it ideal for a multitude of packaging applications. It is lightweight, touch, flexible and easily fabricated or thermoformed. It has unbelievable transparency with excellent gloss and sparkle. It’s a great material for packaging taste and odour sensitive products. Ideal applications include bakery and deli containers, salad bowls, and other utility containers due to its excellent rigidity and yield.  OPS can also be further modified to offer unsurpassed properties when frozen compared to most other thermoformed plastics.






High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)

HIPS is typically used for translucent and opaque applications - never clear applications, where added impact strength is required or when products are typically chilled or frozen.   It is used for products such as drink cups, cookie trays, cake bases and moulded cutlery.  HIPS provides good economics due to its strength, impact resistance, toughness, and high yield.


Polypropylene (PP)

The advantages of polypropylene include heat resistance, chemical resistance, and impact strength. It is competitive material for packaging because of its high material yield.   For applications where some clarity can be sacrificed, PP can be an excellent alternative.  Polypropylene is resistant to fatigue therefore food containers made from it will not melt in the dishwasher or in the microwave.  It is ideally suited for freezer to microwave applications.


Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) or (PETE)

Amorphous PET (A-PET) is an extremely popular packaging solution as a result of its physical properties, recyclability, and economics.  It offers excellent clarity, toughness, and rigidity, and is used for applications such as clam shells (aka hinged containers), cake domes, cookie trays, salad and other utility tubs and containers. It’s a good solution for applications with modified atmosphere.


Unique solutions offered at PolarPak include an anti-fog coating so food can remain clearly visible in all temperatures.  Hinged containers with a clear lid and coloured base are also available.


Polylactic Acid or Polylactide (PLA)

PLA is a resin derived from a renewable plant feedstock. It is synthesized from processed corn, and is biodegradable if composted in a controlled environment. It has very good clarity, gloss, and stiffness.


PLA can be used in many thermoforming applications including drink cups for cold beverages, deli containers, fruit and vegetable trays. It is the most susceptible plastic to hot temperatures, and is not recommended for applications where the product can be exposed to heat.


Recycled Polyethylene Terephtalate (rPET)

PCR-PET or (rPET) is a post consumer recycled PET product that comes from PET that has already been used for packaging, such as the plastic bottles.  This plastic is sorted, cleaned and transformed so that it can be reused as a food product, as approved by federal authorities.  It can be used practically in all the applications where A-PET is used.


Sugarcane (Bagasse)

Sugarcane or Bagasse products strong, grease and cut resistant alternatives to plastic or polystyrene. They’re BPI certified compostable and made from a 100% reclaimed and rapidly renewable material.


Find out more about plastic at:

The Canadian Plastics Industry Association



National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR)