Helios newest company to replace metal with plastic for paint cans and pails

For nearly two decades, plastic has proven to be a better alternative to metal for paint cans. Consumer complaints of rusting metal paint cans and difficulty in getting the metal lids off and putting them back on drove designers to develop plastic paint containers. Sherwin-Williams did it back in 2002, when it designed the square plastic Twist & Pour paint container with a side handle and spout for easy pouring and a twist-off lid. In 2003, that container won the Industrial Designers Society of America’s Gold award.

Helios plastic paint pails
Helios now uses only plastic cans
and pails for its wall paints.

KW Plastics in Troy, AL, is a leading recycler of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP). The company opened its Alabama location in 1981 to recycle PP from battery casings. In 1986 the company opened a facility in Bakersfield CA, and it established KW Plastics Recycling in 1992 to recycle HDPE. KW began producing a plastic and metal hybrid paint container in 1998 and expanded to include an all-plastic injection molded paint container using 100% recycled material. Today, KW claims to be the world’s largest supplier of the all-plastic TruSnap paint container.

Plastic paint containers were widely accepted in Europe a number of years before they became popular in North America. Verstraete IML, a Belgium-based producer of in-mold labels for a variety of consumer packaging, in 2016 debuted a paint bucket to announce the 50th anniversary of customer Cofabrill using a glittering gold in-mold label for its professional paint Zolpan. 

Most recently, RPC Superfos, a designer, developer and manufacturer of injection molded and thermoformed packaging headquartered in Taastrup, Denmark, began supplying plastic cans for interior wall and façade paint from Slovenian producer Helios. The company selected the SuperOval pail from RPC Superfos because of its user-friendliness, light weight and sustainability.

While Helios generally uses metal packaging for its paint products, it is increasingly turning to plastic containers for water-based paints. Its wall paints now only use plastic cans and pails, as more people appreciate the qualities of these containers. As such, Helios was keen to build a relationship with RPC Superfos.

“Our experience with the local RPC Superfos team is positive,” says Uroš Primožič, Purchasing Director at Helios. “We appreciate the efficient way we first received technical information about the containers and then the relevant samples.”

Another factor in Helios’ interest in RPC Superfos was its global reach, which complements Helios' own international scale, with paint production sites in eight European countries and customers worldwide.

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