Glass, plastic, and steel — oh, my! Packaging consulting services help you find the right fit.

Selecting your perfect packaging solution depends on what you value — cost effectiveness, efficiency, durability, or something else. In some cases, multiple solutions could work. But it all boils down to what’s the best fit for you, your operation, and your product.

That’s where Pipeline’s complimentary packaging consulting services can help. To start, we’ve highlighted the benefits — and drawbacks — of three primary packaging materials.

Don’t pass on glass

A major advantage of glass is its impermeable nonporous surface which prevents it from absorbing any stored product. It’s also well suited for preserving certain flavors or scents. Glass won’t leach additional chemicals, even in extreme temperatures, and will remain virtually unreactive for almost all chemicals.

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With a 100% safety certification from the FDA in practically all applications, it’s a common recommendation by packaging consulting services experts for sensitive products. But glass does have a couple of drawbacks, including its low impact resistance and heaviness, which can increase shipping costs.

The magic of plastic

Plastic is incredibly lightweight. This makes handling and shipping easier and less expensive. Due to its low melting point, manufacturers can easily mass produce plastic packaging, keeping costs low and energy efficiency maximized. The other signature feature of plastic is its durability. Unlike glass, plastic has a high impact resistance that protects from dents and damages in shipping or storage.

There are some obstacles to consider. While it’s often selected for its ability to preserve certain scents and flavors, plastic simultaneously runs the risk of absorbing them. Likewise, despite its durability, plastic does degrade over time.

Steel’s the real deal

Compared to other materials, experts in packaging consulting services know steel packaging takes durability to the next level with internal and external protection. Its rigid and strong exterior shields products from potential impact damages. Internally, steel blocks light from entering and reacting with its contents. Steel is very temperature resistant, making it well suited for indoor and outdoor storage. Steel can have high upfront costs but can easily be reused for other purposes.

Steel does have a weakness worth noting. Over time, steel can corrode. However, Pipeline Packaging can pair you with a protective liner to reduce deterioration.

Pipeline … your packaging pathfinder

With so many potential avenues, there are plenty of strong packaging options to consider. But how do you know which route to take?

Gary Watson, sales representative, has worked for Pipeline Packaging for almost a decade. He’s spent his career in the packaging and distribution industry helping customers answer this question.

“I can spot if a customer isn’t quite sure what they’re looking for right away,” said Watson, based out of Conroe, Texas. “As packaging consultants, we’re always guiding customers toward the right fit. We want to recommend the packaging solution that works best for them, be it glass, plastic, steel, or something else.”

Watson said Pipeline provides packaging consulting services fitting each customer’s individual scenario, including testing different options.

Watson’s expertise translates across industries, with clients ranging from a national peanut butter manufacturer that needs five-gallon plastic buckets to a chemical manufacturer that had to find packaging that met a higher UN rating.

“Our packaging consulting services go above and beyond the competition,” he said. “The majority of our customers use us as a consultant first and foremost. Our success really stems from our focus on building face-to-face relationships. We instill trust by understanding customers’ needs and working with them to find solutions that fit.”

Where do we go from here?

When it comes to selecting the right packaging material, Pipeline is like a GPS system.

“We’re here to help guide our customers on their journey,” said Meagan Augustino, a Pipeline Packaging outside sales representative based in Conroe, Texas. “We’ve been known to say things like, ‘We had another customer in your market, and this is what worked for them.’”

Augustino mentioned a customer that was bought out by another company.

The previous owner had purchased some products from Pipeline, but also some from other packaging suppliers.

“The new owner came to us, new to the industry, with a big learning curve,” said Augustino. “There were discussions about what the previous owner bought from Pipeline. But we really started from scratch with the new owner.”

Finding the right packaging solution for one new product required some testing. Augustino said there were some setbacks, but Pipeline’s packaging consulting services helped the customer figure out the perfect solution.

“We went through a lot of trial and error,” she said. “Between all the back and forth, we formed a true partnership. We’ve gotten a lot of new opportunities because of this partnership. This company used to buy from many resources. Now they buy everything from us. We bridged the gap.”

Augustino serves many industries, from industrial chemicals, bleach, peroxides, and cleaners to retail spices, wine, liquor, beer, and cannabis.

New industry in need of advice

Cannabis is a great example of a newer industry in need of packaging consulting services. From packaging materials to federal and state regulations, there’s a lot to consider.

“The key with cannabis is keeping the product fresh,” said Augustino. “Glass is the preferred packaging to preserve the product. You don’t want moisture or air to seep in. We’re also one of few distributors to offer UV-barrier plastic packaging. Cannabis packaging needs to be child resistant, which can make it harder to source as there’s more tooling and sourcing required. We work with growers and sellers. From the industrial to consumer side, we’re involved from conception to distribution.”

Pipeline even provides nitrogen-purged containers for cleanliness, so cannabis products can be packaged in-line, reducing extra handling costs, and eliminating potential contamination.

Our customers stick around

Overall, because of the expert guidance, Augustino says many Pipeline customers are long lasting.

“Many of my customers have been with me since I started at Pipeline,” she said. “Packaging is a relationship business, and Pipeline is committed to doing what it takes to develop solid customer relationships. We have some real packaging industry specialists here, and we love what we do. We get to help people, and there’s a great amount of gratification in knowing that.”

If you’re ready to work with the experts in packaging consulting services, contact Pipeline Packaging today. We’ll help determine whether glass, plastic, or steel — or something else — is right for your needs.