Guide to Sustainable Containers

As commitment to sustainable packaging grows, so do our eco-friendly product options and services. The Cary Company is a container and packaging company driven by helping our customers find the solutions for their needs. We look forward to product-sourcing greener solutions, promoting proper disposal methods, and inspiring ways to reuse or upcycle our customers’ favorite products. 

green bottle cap among blue bottle capsgreen bottle cap among blue bottle caps

Why Is Sustainable Packaging Important?

Sustainable packaging utilizes eco-conscious materials and disposal methods to improve packaging waste management. This style of packaging promotes sustainability, which is the ability to maintain our environment, economy, and communities in a way that upkeeps our resources and overall health. Its importance lies in cultivating a flourishing world for future generations, one without depleted or polluted natural resources.


Glass Containers

Glass containers are 100% recyclable, meaning they do not lose any quality when broken down. They are made from all-natural, non-toxic materials and boast a resistance to harmful, leaching chemicals. 

It is important to note that glass containers are not necessarily the most eco-friendly containers. They are heavier than their plastic and metal counterparts, resulting in increased shipping weight and therefore a larger carbon footprint. They also require more energy during production, which contributes to carbon emissions as well. Consistently recycling glass containers is one way to decrease the impact of and need for new glass production.

glass containers bottles and jarsglass containers bottles and jars

Plastic Containers

Despite the negative association concerning plastic, plastic containers can be sustainable containers if treated as more than single-use products. Plastic is lightweight, and most types of plastic are easily recyclable. When plastic containers are recycled, they degrade with each cycle. This results in a certain percentage of the recycled plastic containers being “downcycled” for other purposes, such as synthetic clothes or carpets. Additionally, if containers are made with recycled plastic and intended for food use, the manufacturers must adhere to certain rules established by the FDA.

Environmentally-friendly decisions apply to design too. In-mold labeling, or IML, eliminates the need for non-recyclable adhesives by printing decorative film directly onto compatible containers. IML containers are completely recyclable. 

plastic containers bottles and jarsplastic containers bottles and jars

plastic bottle made with post consumer resin in recycling symbolplastic bottle made with post consumer resin in recycling symbol

Post-Consumer Resin (PCR)

Post-consumer resin (PCR) is made out of recycled plastic containers discarded by everyday consumers. The recycled plastic containers are broken down into small, fine bits known as resin. They are then melted, mixed with new virgin resin, and fashioned into new items. PCR products can be made out of 100% PCR or include varying degrees of it, and are usually distinguished by their slightly off color and clarity.


hands holding blue pieces of broken down regrind plastichands holding blue pieces of broken down regrind plastic

Regrind

Regrind products are made with unused, excess plastic which is shredded and reshaped. Unused plastic includes rejected parts, damaged products and leftover scraps from molding. These pieces are gathered, cleaned, processed, and then used for manufacturing new items. Regrind products prevent excess plastic from ending up in landfills, instead inspiring better handling of scrap plastic.


drum and IBC tote with a recycling symboldrum and IBC tote with a recycling symbol

Reconditioned

Reconditioned products are previously used items that have been cleaned and restored for reuse. They decrease the need to produce new containers, limiting carbon emissions and giving certain items a second life. The Cary Company offers reconditioned plastic pails, reconditioned plastic and steel drums, and IBC Totes. Our reconditioned IBC Totes also include rebottled IBC totes, which combine a new tank with a reconditioned cage.


Metal Containers

Most common types of metal can be recycled, with steel being the world’s most recycled material. Metal containers can be recycled without any deterioration to the metal’s quality or durability. They can also be donated to scrap yards, which are equipped to properly dispose of or resell them even if the containers are damaged or rusty.

metal containers and drumsmetal containers and drums

Eco-Friendly Containers & Alternatives

Eco-friendly containers and product alternatives tend to be constructed out of recycled materials (PCR, regrind, reconditioned, etc.), be easily recyclable and biodegradable themselves, or substitute single-use products. Considering the ever-growing volume of our products, you are bound to find items not featured on this list that are also made with recycled materials. Below is a spotlight of some of our favorite eco-friendly products here at The Cary Company.

Paint Cans

Our plastic paint cans are molded from 100% recycled materials and recyclable resin. Likewise, our hybrid paint cans are made with regrind recycled polypropylene and are designed to be interchangable with metal paint cans. Many of the metal paint cans we carry contain 25% post-consumer recycled content and are 100% recyclable.


Pallet Wraps

Pallet wraps are reusable alternatives to the plastic stretch film and shrink wrap used to wrap pallet shipments. They reduce protective packaging waste management costs.

eco friendly pallet wrapeco friendly pallet wrap

Eco-Friendly Pressure Sensitive Liners

These “ECO Sensitive” pressure sensitive liners are an alternative to polystyrene pressure seals. They are made from recyclable virgin pulp which will decompose naturally when discarded.

eco friendly pressure sensitive linereco friendly pressure sensitive liner

CLR® Pro Industrial Products

CLR Pro Industrial Products are part of EPA's Safer Choice program and are EPA certified as biodegradable. CLR products are excellent eco-friendly cleaners for your facility needs. The products are made from naturally-derived substances, do not contain phosphates, and are septic safe. The Cary Company has answers to all your CLR Pro frequently asked questions.


Recycled Plastic Spill Pallets

This 4-drum economy poly spill pallet is made from 100% recycled polyethylene (PET) plastic. It is chemically resistant and compatible with many hazardous liquids.

eco friendly recycled spill palleteco friendly recycled spill pallet

Recycled Plastic Overpack Drum

Our recycled plastic salvage overpack drum is UN rated and comes with a screw on lid. This drum can be used to transport used spill kits and soiled sorbents, keeping hazardous, unsafe chemicals from contaminating our environment.

eco friendly recycled spill palleteco friendly recycled spill pallet

Wood Pallets

Wood pallets are reusable, tough, and durable. Their organic composition makes them biodegradable, but wood pallets are also easily recyclable. Many of the wood pallets we offer at The Cary Company are made out of recycled wood.

eco friendly recycled wood palleteco friendly recycled wood pallet

Fiber Drums

Fiber drums, also called cardboard drums or fibre drums, are made our of steel, kraft paper, and plastic and recommended for use with dry products. Once the drum is broken down, its cardboard and metal components can be easily recycled.


Biodegradable Loose Fill

Made from starch-based renewable resources, this environmentally-friendly loose fill is excellent for additional padding during shipments. This biodegradable loose fill packaging disintegrates in water, leaves no harmful residue, and is dust-free, anti-static and abrasion resistant.

eco friendly corrugated boxeco friendly corrugated box

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes are strong, durable paper-based packaging containers made from renewable resources: pulp and recycled paper. They can also easily decompose and be recycled. However, the durability of corrugated boxes also makes them reusable. Similarly, The Cary Company offers corrugated mailers which are great for heavier shipments.

eco friendly corrugated boxeco friendly corrugated box

Eco-Conscious Products

The Cary Company also offers environmentally-conscious products that make preserving our natural resources simpler, whether in our own backyards or industrial, construction settings.

Rain Barrels

Rain Barrels catch and store rainwater, which can then be used for gardening or cleaning. They are made from reconditioned drums and barrels previously used for food packaging. We also carry a recycled wood pedestal for rain barrels.

eco friendly rain barreleco friendly rain barrel

Composter

This 55 gallon composter is made out of a recycled drum with a lumber frame constructed out of recycled wood. It allows for efficient composting since the barrel insulates heat while the center tube releases excess moisture, leading to a drier interior and preventing rot. The barrel's suspended design allows it to be rock and spun for better aeration.

eco friendly rain barreleco friendly rain barrel

Stormwater Management Systems

Our stormwater management products help reduce the release of sediment and chemicals into storm drains, groundwater, and surface water. This helps protect the quality of our waterways, preventing pollution caused by various construction projects and alike. Stormwater management systems include silt dikes, grate guards, drain guards, curb & gutter guards, dewatering bags, filter socks, and more!

eco friendly stormwater management systemeco friendly stormwater management system

Items to Promote Safe Recycling Practices

Throwing out non-recyclable items in bins meant for recycling can lead to costly equipment damage for recycling facilities, contaiminating entire batches of recycled matter. It is important to promote proper recycling by making both recycling and trash containers accessible.

Outdoor Recycling Bins & Trash Cans

Outdoor recycling receptacles, trash cans, and cigarette receptacles promote better waste practices and prevent littering. The Cary Company offers a range of trash and recycling recepticles with capacities from 22 to 55 gallons. They boast a variety of lids, including styles with narrow mouths to block larger, non-recyclable items from entering. We also carry trash can lids for drums, allowing customers to repurpose their used drums as trash receptacles.

trash and recycling containertrash and recycling container

Recycling Tilt Carts

This large blue recycle standard tilt cart is designated specifically for the transport of recyclables. It is easy to move and dump at work sites, warehouses, and various indoor and outdoor facilities. 

plastic recycling bin tilt cartplastic recycling bin tilt cart

Lamp Recycling Containers

Our lamp recycle boxes are lightweight yet durable drums that help reduce lamp waste and disposal cost. The EPA requires all companies to properly dispose of fluorescent lamps through certified companies.

lamp recycling containerlamp recycling container

Aerosol Can Disposal & Recycling Systems

Our aerosol can disposal systems and filters allow for safe depressurization, keeping hazardous waste contained and easier to dispose of. Although metal aerosol cans are recyclable, if not completely empty they can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere, contributing to environmental pollution. Our aerosol can puncture devices are EPA, RCRA, OSHA and California compliant. Additionally, The Cary Company offers replacement filters.

aerosol can recycling containeraerosol can recycling container

Services

reconditioned drum and reconditioned IBC tote with recycling symbols in a warehousereconditioned drum and reconditioned IBC tote with recycling symbols in a warehouse
truck driver standing before delivery trucktruck driver standing before delivery truck

Drum & Tote Disposal Services

We offer free drum and IBC tote disposal services to help you responsibly recycle various used containers. After receiving these containers, we clean them out and recondition them. No freight charges. On-time pickups. No stress!

Cary Freight & Logistics Services

Establishing an efficient transportation network decreases fuel waste. The Cary Company negotiates extensively with a broad network of carriers. We also offer a local delivery option using our own freight, Cary Freight, for qualified zip codes in Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Salt Lake City, Utah; Jurupa Valley, California; and Livermore, California. This unique option allows for the lowest delivered and landed cost available. 

reconditioned drum and reconditioned IBC tote with recycling symbols in a warehousereconditioned drum and reconditioned IBC tote with recycling symbols in a warehouse

Drum & Tote Disposal Services

We offer free drum and IBC tote disposal services to help you responsibly recycle various used containers. After receiving these containers, we clean them out and recondition them. No freight charges. On-time pickups. No stress!


truck driver standing before delivery trucktruck driver standing before delivery truck

Cary Freight & Logistics Services

Establishing an efficient transportation network decreases fuel waste. The Cary Company negotiates extensively with a broad network of carriers. We also offer a local delivery option using our own freight, Cary Freight, for qualified zip codes in Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Salt Lake City, Utah; Jurupa Valley, California; and Livermore, California. This unique option allows for the lowest delivered and landed cost available. 


Articles & Resources

Providing options for eco-friendly containers is only one aspect of a sustainable mindset. We want to equip you with the knowledge of proper, effective recycling methods as well as creative reuses for your containers. At The Cary Company, we do our research. Explore our articles and guides to learn what materials are recyclable, how to repurpose your favorite household containers, and more! By staying informed, you can help your customers make greener decisions.

Recycle

what kind of plastic can be recycled text next to plastic containers and bottleswhat kind of plastic can be recycled text next to plastic containers and bottles

Before starting your next packaging project, it is important to understand what RIC plastic codes represent and whether each code is easily accessible for buyers to recycle at their local recycling facility...

how to dispose of paint cans text next to hybrid and metal paint cans with recycling symbolhow to dispose of paint cans text next to hybrid and metal paint cans with recycling symbol

The time has come to recycle your paint cans and you want to do it right. Have you taken your paint cans' material into account? Do you need to dispose of excess paint safely?...

Repurpose

For more repurposing ideas, browse our Pinterest.

best 5 gallon bucket garden ideas and uses text next to bucket garden on a wood palletbest 5 gallon bucket garden ideas and uses text next to bucket garden on a wood pallet

Thanks to the durability of 5 gallon plastic buckets, they can be repurposed for a variety of outdoor uses. From creative planters to bucket garden ideas, we've compiled a list of our favorite...

5 different ways to use a 5 gallon bucket text next to bucket containers5 different ways to use a 5 gallon bucket text next to bucket containers

You have five gallon buckets in your garage or your warehouse. Don't know what to put in them? Want to find creative ways to use them? There are a wide variety of ways to use five gallon buckets, including the popular...