Berries can be quite addictive. After all, they are a healthy dessert and can go with different kinds of foods. I mean, you can even toss them in your blender and make a cool smoothie with them. But what do you do with plastic berry containers?
However, anyone who regularly buys berries can tell you that it can be difficult to figure out what to do with their plastic containers that are aptly named clamshells. Fortunately, that’s where we come in. In today’s post, we are going to talk about all that you can do with these containers.
What type of plastic are berry containers?
Berry containers are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) thermoform. This type of plastic is also used to manufacture containers that hold tomatoes, salads, and fresh herbs.
Can plastic berry containers be recycled?
Plastic berry containers aren’t currently recyclable. However, some major North American berry brands recently announced that they are planning to use fully recyclable packaging materials by 2025. This will be the first change made to berry packaging since the 1990s when clamshell containers were introduced.
Why can’t plastic berry containers be recycled?
There are several reasons why you can’t recycle plastic berry containers. For one, since there isn’t demand for the result of their recycling process, many facilities do not see the point of recycling these containers.
Beyond that, the plastic that’s used to manufacture berry containers behaves differently from other types of plastic when heated. So when they are added to the usual plastic recycling stream and are heated, they can negatively affect the whole stream.
That’s why in North America, there’s a limit to how much thermoform plastic can be added to a plastic recycling stream. This figure is usually 5% to 10%. When this figure is surpassed the recycling stream is considered to be contaminated.
Another thing that makes it hard to recycle clamshells and other PET thermoform plastic materials is the fact that they are lightweight. This makes them get compressed into a flat surface during the recycling process.
Ultimately, this can make them get mistakenly sorted as 2D objects and end up in the paper recycling stream. Another thing to keep in mind is that some plastic berry containers can contain food particles that further contaminate recycling streams.
It’s therefore not surprising that recycling plants work hard to ensure that they remove clamshells and other PET thermoform containers from anything they plan to recycle. These are usually sent off to landfills instead.
That’s why it’s best to throw such containers in the trash can yourself.
Can you compost plastic berry containers?
No, you can’t compost plastic berry containers. Since they are made of plastic, they can’t fully break down in your compost heap and will just contaminate it instead.
What can I do with plastic berry containers?
Apart from throwing out your plastic berry containers, you can reuse them in a variety of ways. These include:
- To hold pens and pencils
Since berry containers are clear and wide, they are great for storing pens, pencils, and other types of stationery. This is a particularly good idea if you’re looking for something to store your kids’ stationery.
- To hold snacks for picnics
Another easy way to reuse plastic berry containers is to hold snacks in them when you go out for a picnic. Some snacks you can carry this way include sandwiches, cookies, dry cereal, and apple slices.
- To plant
If you love gardening, you can easily use empty plastic berry containers to house new plants and flowers. All you have to do is fill the containers with soil and then plant your seeds. The good news is that the fact these containers are clear enables you to notice when your plant starts growing or when you’ve provided it with enough water.
- To organize your drawers
Interestingly, you can use empty plastic berry containers to divide your drawers and organize them. You can even label them to keep things more organized.
- To make blocks to act as toys
If you have kids and need to get some more toys to distract them, we have some good news for you. By simply filling plastic berry containers with colorful pieces of felt or tissue paper, you can create blocks that they can stack and play with.
Reuse or Throw Out!
When it comes to disposing of plastic berry containers, you only have two options; reusing or throwing them out altogether.