CDF ’s bucket-busting revision of the 5-gallon plastic pail is nothing short of one of the most impressive packaging designs I came across at Pack Expo.
Called Smart Pail, the basic version consists of three components: An outer corrugated box, an inner thermoform insert, and several lidstock options to seal a filled thermoform.
It’s optimized for e-commerce shipment and is nearly 100% recyclable using common materials.
1. The protective corrugated box can use a standard stock box with a tear-strip opening sized for the thermoform, which describes the Smart Pail version.
A premium, strengthened version called the Meta Pail uses a robust combination C/B flute alternative sourced from WestRock. With a distinctive hexagonal style box design, it can accommodate heavier liquid products.
2. The plastic insert for containing the product is thermoformed with high-density polyethylene. The slanted corners that give the insert a slightly modified hexagonal shape provide added strength.
According to Aimee Marion, the packaging application engineer involved in the project, CDF plans to confirm that the insert will be curbside recyclable along with HDPE milk jugs.
3. Lidding options include tamper-evident heat-sealed films and a resealable Peel & Reseal option. A thermoformed cover is also available.
Options include slits or handles on the box side.
The savings vs. a 5-gal bucket are dramatic: 33% more containers per pallet and an 80% reduction in plastic.
Other sizes are available starting around 2 gallons through container height adjustments that use the same footprint of the 5-gallon version.
CDF offers sealing equipment for the package that's capable of handling 12 Smart Pail’s per minute. "This equipment creates massive labor savings," Marion adds.
She reports that several brands, including a pet-food brand and food ingredients provider, are planning to roll out the Smart Pail in early 2023.