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Clamshell packaging is a popular choice for many products, including produce, electronics, and toys.

However, the environmental impact of plastic clamshell packaging has become a growing concern in recent years.

Plastic clamshells are difficult to recycle and can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

As a result, many companies and consumers are seeking alternative packaging options that are more sustainable and eco-friendly.

Fortunately, there are several clamshell packaging alternatives available.

These include corrugated cardboard containers, sustainable tray sealing, paperboard-based packages, and security packaging made from laminated paperboard and clear thermoform.

These alternatives offer the same level of security against tampering and pilferage as plastic clamshells but are more environmentally friendly.

Additionally, some of these alternatives can reduce plastic usage by up to 30%, making them a more sustainable choice for companies and consumers alike.

As companies and consumers become more conscious of the impact of their packaging choices on the environment, clamshell packaging alternatives are becoming increasingly popular.

By choosing more sustainable options, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

As more alternative packaging options become available, it’s likely that we will see a shift away from traditional plastic clamshell packaging in favor of more environmentally friendly options.

What is Clamshell Packaging?


Clamshell packaging is a type of plastic container that fully encapsulates and protects products between two thermoformed sheets of plastic material.

It usually has a hinge, allowing it to close and open like a clamshell. The packaging is commonly used for food products, electronics, and other consumer goods.


The origins of clamshell packaging can be traced back to the 1960s, when it was first introduced as a way to package fresh produce.

Over the years, the design has evolved to include various shapes, sizes, and materials. Today, clamshell packaging is widely used in the food industry, as well as in retail and industrial settings.

While clamshell packaging has many benefits, including increased product visibility and protection, it also has some drawbacks.

One of the biggest concerns is its impact on the environment. Clamshells are typically made from petroleum-based plastics that are not biodegradable and can take hundreds of years to decompose.

To address this issue, manufacturers have started exploring alternative materials, such as plant-based plastics and recycled materials.

Some companies have also started using PET trays, which are made from recycled plastic and can be recycled again after use.

Overall, clamshell packaging remains a popular choice for many industries due to its versatility and durability.

However, as the demand for more sustainable packaging options grows, it is likely that we will see more alternatives to traditional plastic clamshells in the future.

Issues with Clamshell Packaging

Wrap Rage

Clamshell packaging is notorious for causing “wrap rage” among consumers who struggle to open the packaging. This frustration can lead to injuries and damage to the product.

The design of clamshells often requires the use of scissors or other sharp objects, which can be dangerous for consumers, especially children and the elderly.


In addition to the risk of injury from opening clamshell packaging, there is also a risk of injury during transportation and handling.

The sharp edges of the packaging can cause cuts and scratches to workers who handle the products. This can result in lost productivity and increased medical costs.

Environmental Impact

Clamshell packaging has a significant environmental impact. The packaging is often made from petroleum-based materials, which contribute to carbon emissions and contribute to the depletion of non-renewable resources.

Additionally, clamshells are often not recyclable, which leads to more waste in landfills.

Brand owners and manufacturers are increasingly looking for more environmentally-friendly alternatives to clamshell packaging.

Some companies, such as MeadWestvaco, have developed alternative packaging options, such as Natralock security packaging.

This packaging is made from a laminated paperboard that is recyclable and is combined with a clear APET or RPET thermoform to create a secure and environmentally-friendly package.

In addition to the environmental impact, clamshell packaging can also be expensive for brand owners.

The production rates of clamshells are often lower than other types of packaging, which can lead to higher costs. Additionally, the design of clamshells can lead to increased warehousing and shipping costs.

Overall, there are significant issues with clamshell packaging, including wrap rage, injuries, and environmental impact.

As sustainability goals become increasingly important for consumers and brand owners, alternatives to clamshell packaging, such as Natralock security packaging, are becoming more popular.

Alternatives to Clamshell Packaging

As consumer demand for eco-friendly packaging options continues to grow, manufacturers are looking for alternatives to traditional clamshell packaging.

Below are some of the most promising alternatives to clamshell packaging.

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging options include corrugated cardboard containers, paper-based containers, and biodegradable plastics.

These options are designed to optimize product preservation, prevent food waste, and minimize environmental impact by reducing plastics by up to 30%.

One example of a company using sustainable packaging is Driscoll’s, which is piloting new packaging alternatives to clamshell packaging.

Custom Package Design

Custom package design allows manufacturers to create unique packaging options that meet their specific needs.

This can include designing packaging that is easier to open to reduce “wrap rage” or creating packaging that is more efficient for transportation.

Additionally, custom package design can help reduce shipping costs by creating packaging that fits more efficiently on pallets.

Reseal Capabilities

Resealable packaging options are becoming increasingly popular as consumers look for ways to reduce food waste.

Resealable packaging can help keep food fresh for longer periods of time, reducing the amount of food that is thrown away.

Additionally, resealable packaging can help reduce the need for additional packaging, as consumers can use the same container multiple times.

Security Packaging

Security packaging options, such as Natralock security packaging, are designed to satisfy environmental sustainability objectives, deter theft, and increase product and brand security.

Natralock packaging starts with a theft-resistant, laminated paperboard that is recyclable.

This type of packaging is designed to work with existing sealing machinery and can be used to replace traditional clamshell packaging.

Overall, there are many alternatives to clamshell packaging that offer a range of benefits, including sustainability, custom design options, reseal capabilities, and security features.

While price stability and stock availability may still be concerns for some manufacturers, the benefits of these alternatives make them worth considering for those looking to reduce their environmental impact and meet consumer demand for eco-friendly packaging options.


In conclusion, the clamshell packaging industry is undergoing a shift towards eco-friendly packaging alternatives. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging and are demanding more sustainable options.

This has led to the development of new packaging materials such as corrugated cardboard containers and formable pulp trays made of renewable bamboo and bulrush fiber-based material.

Sony and Microsoft are two examples of companies that have already made the switch to more sustainable packaging options.

Sony has eliminated plastic from its packaging for its PlayStation 5 console, while Microsoft has reduced the size of its Xbox Series X packaging by 40%. These changes not only reduce the environmental impact of the packaging but also save on shipping costs.

Blister packaging is another type of packaging that is being replaced with more sustainable options. Blister packaging is difficult to recycle and often ends up in landfills.

Sustainable alternatives such as paper-based blister packaging and biodegradable blister packaging are becoming more common.

Security packaging is also an important consideration in the packaging industry. While clamshell packaging is often used for security reasons, other options such as tamper-evident packaging and RFID tags can provide the necessary security without the environmental impact of clamshell packaging.

Existing sealing machinery is a concern for companies looking to switch to more sustainable packaging options. However, many sustainable packaging options can be sealed using existing machinery with minor modifications.

In summary, the clamshell packaging industry is moving towards more sustainable options to meet the demands of customers and reduce environmental impact.

Companies such as Sony and Microsoft have already made the switch, and sustainable alternatives such as paper-based blister packaging and tamper-evident packaging are becoming more common. While existing sealing machinery is a concern, many sustainable packaging options can be sealed using minor modifications.