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What are the Different Types of Polystyrene Containers?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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Polystyrene is a type of plastic resin made from petroleum by-products. This material may be known as Styrofoam® in some areas. Known for its light weight and high degree of moisture resistance, polystyrene is commonly used to make containers for shipping or food storage. Depending on the industry and application, many types of polystyrene containers are available to safely transport food or other goods.

The food industry is one of the biggest markets for polystyrene containers. This industry takes advantage of the waterproof nature of polystyrene, as well as its durability and strength. Polystyrene containers used in the food industry include thin-walled clamshell trays used in restaurants. These clamshells are one of the most common ways to carry food, and are available in large and small sizes. Other polystyrene containers in the food industry include disposable coffee cups, egg cartons, and meat packing trays.

Solid forms of polystyrene containers also serve as popular food storage options. These containers have a hard, solid consistency that differs from the foam clamshell or coffee cup. These polystyrene containers include yogurt cups and many types of juice or beverage bottles. Polystyrene can also be used to make reusable containers, including food storage products, portable water bottles and jars for the home. This solid polystyrene is even used to make containers for compact discs and movies.

Sheets of polystyrene foam can also be used to make shipping or storage containers for a variety of goods. This foam, which is often used to make portable beverage coolers, comes in large sheets that can also serve as building insulation. It can be used to form a mobile freezer or cooler to keep food cold during shipping, and may line the walls of a delivery truck. These polystyrene containers take advantage of the natural insulation properties of this material, which are superior to many others types of containers.

Finally, polystyrene containers serve as one of the most popular methods of protecting electronics during shipping. These containers are often custom made to fit precisely around a television, computer, or other fragile product. Manufacturers in the electronics industry rely on polystyrene containers for their effective shock absorption, which helps to protect a product as its transported from the factory to retailers. These containers also protect the object from moisture, and pose low risk of electrical interference because of their inability to act as a conductor.

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