How not to overpay for plastic packaging?

24 May 2022

Overview of covered topics

Is the price you pay for plastic packaging too high? An increasing number of manufacturing companies are experiencing rising costs and are urgently beginning to seek savings. To avoid financial losses and prevent passing costs on to customers, it’s worth checking whether you are overpaying for plastic packaging.

Never before have there been so many opportunities to reduce the costs of producing plastic packaging as there are today. Packaging design, production molds, technology, material – almost all areas of plastic packaging manufacturing can be optimized. The challenge is that cutting costs in some of these areas may not end well. Below, you will find a set of guidelines that help reduce costs without compromising the quality of packaging.

What will you learn from the article?

  • How to save on the production of plastic packaging?
  • Plastic material — how to reduce its costs?
  • Which production technology to choose to avoid overpaying?
  • Packaging production mold — how to save on it?
  • Is it worth outsourcing the production of plastic packaging to China?
  • Do reusable plastic packaging allow for savings?

What contributes to the high costs of plastic packaging production?

It’s easy to find savings when you know where to look. And while inappropriate technology and the wrong choice of material generate high costs in the production of plastic packaging, we don’t always know why this is the case. Moreover, today it’s not just about the unit price of packaging, but optimizing the entire supply chain. Production managers in companies across most industries consider not only whether plastics have a good quality-to-price ratio but also the time required to produce plastic packaging.

How, then, to improve technological processes to achieve real savings? If you manage production in the food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, or any other industry, understanding these few factors can help you avoid overpaying for packaging production.

The types of packaging we produce include, among others, blisters.

Avoid using unconventional materials that are available on special demand.

There are so many materials used for plastic packaging that it’s very easy to make the wrong choice. Some provide excellent resistance to sunlight, others protect against damage and external factors, and yet others have very low weight or are used in plastic packaging intended for food contact.

However, before choosing from the available materials that best meet your requirements, start by checking the properties of the most popular materials, such as PET, HIPS, or ABS. Why? If you choose a material that is available on demand (not in stock), its price will be increased by the cost of transportation. You’re not just paying for the material properties, but also whether the material is available locally or needs to be imported. If a material commonly used in the market meets your requirements, the likelihood of obtaining a favorable price is higher. “If you want an even lower price, be sure to ask your supplier about materials made from recycled resources.”

Tip: How to choose the optimal packaging material for your product? In this matter, the most important factors are what we will be packaging and the conditions under which the product will be transported, stored, and sold. The more fragile and delicate the products you want to package, the more attention you need to pay to ensuring that the material is resistant to mechanical damage. Both the packaging and the market for products intended for contact with food (which are safe for human health) also offer environmentally friendly solutions. If sustainable development is important to your company, recycled plastics can be a very good choice.

Don't wait!

Tailor the technology to your needs to reduce plastic production costs.

Choose the optimal production technology.

Also, choosing the right technology for the production of plastic packaging is not a decision to be made hastily. The most efficient technologies for the production of plastic packaging are thermoforming and injection molding. With these technologies, you can produce packaging of both small and large sizes, in quantities ranging from a few to several million pieces per year. How can you tell that your plastic packaging is being produced using the right technology? Pay attention to the amount of material that becomes waste during the production of packaging. It may turn out that by changing the technology, you can achieve similar production efficiency but with less waste. During the production of plastic packaging, too much waste indicates excessive costs, and in such a case, changing the production technology can result in savings.

PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, is used in the production of plastic containers, trays, and bottles.

Order a mold that best meets your needs

If you are just about to order plastic packaging, you face the decision of which production mold to choose. And you will have plenty of options to choose from. However, few people remember that the type of mold not only affects the efficiency of the production technology but can also increase or decrease the price you pay for one piece of plastic packaging. The cost of making a mold, depending on its size, can range from a hundreds to several tens of thousands of euros. Therefore, before choosing a mold, you need to analyze which one will be the optimal choice for your requirements. For example, it is not always necessary to use a steel or aluminum mold. Wooden molds covered with a composite or resin molds are often sufficient in many cases. Much depends on the plastics you choose and whether the packaging will be produced for single or multiple use.

Place a larger order at once

If you place one large order instead of several smaller ones for packaging, containers, or bottles, you can significantly reduce the overall production costs of plastic products. A single order for all packaging primarily reduces raw material costs because you can order them in larger quantities and transport them more efficiently. This also reduces the overall administrative and general costs of the order. Similar to any purchased item, the total quantity ordered can have a significant impact on the price you pay for the production of plastic packaging.

Do you want to learn ways to reduce costs for other plastic products? Don’t miss the article: How to reduce the costs of producing plastic components?

Move packaging production to Poland

If you manufacture packaging in Western countries or in China, you can achieve savings by opting for production in Poland. Why? Compared to Western countries, Poland adheres to the same production and material standards, but production costs are lower due to lower labor costs. Additionally, easy communication with the production facility in Poland will allow you to monitor the production process, and the delivery with packaging will reach your company much faster. If you manufacture packaging in China, the cost of transporting the packaging, uncertainty about the delivery schedule, and low quality standards can result in a high unit cost for plastic packaging. However, that’s not all. If you don’t manufacture packaging in Poland, every time you pay for packaging, you incur costs of currency conversion and face currency risk, which is currently quite high.

Recycling technology and reusable containers help protect the natural environment.

Implement a closed-loop system model

Reusable or recycled packaging can bring benefits not only to the natural environment but also to your company and customers. The use of containers that can be reused after reaching the end of their life cycle can significantly reduce costs and enhance your brand perception among consumers. A closed-loop production model reduces costs by allowing for lower consumption of materials needed for manufacturing. These types of packaging are durable and much more solid, so they provide better protection for the products or food inside.

To sum up – How not to overpay for plastic packaging?

You don’t have to sacrifice quality to reduce packaging costs. Regardless of whether you order plastic blisters, bottles, displays, trays, heat-sealed packaging or food packaging containers [1], we can help you optimize your production processes to achieve savings. It often happens that our customers are surprised by how much impact a change of material can have on the average packaging cost. Correct materials, production optimization and more efficient technological processes can help reduce costs.

Consult the project and we will tell you what changes you should make to save on the production of plastic packaging.

During the consultation, we will assess the technologies and materials your company uses and advise you what to do to reduce the costs of producing plastic packaging.


[1] Detailed requirements for packaging that are to come into contact with food in households are included in the regulations:

  • Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 October 2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
  • Regulation (EC) No. 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
  • Regulation (EC) 2023/2006 of 22 December 2006 on good manufacturing practice for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
Adam Bernacki

Adam Bernacki

Technical director at Plastipol Poland. Popularizer of knowledge about plastics processing. Industry experience gained through education at Scandinavian polytechnics, work in global corporations in the plastics industry, and by managing technical issues in a Polish company. Specialist in plastics batch and mass production technologies. Author of articles and industry texts for clients in various industry sectors. Training Advisor.