New "Sustainable Produce Container" - Compostable Alternative to Plastic Clamshells

Replace plastic clamshells with these sustainable, recyclable, and compostable Made-in-the-USA produce containers made from cardboard. They're sturdier, take up less space, and can help your produce last longer than plastic clamshells. Order the QUART , LOW PROFILE PINT or HALF-PINT in natural brown Kraftpak and delight your customers!  


WKRC TV12:Local Farmer Designs System to Replace Plastic Products
WVXU Public Radio:Local Farmer Creates Eco-Friendly Packaging Fruits & Vegetables
Organic Produce Network:Alternative to Plastic Produce Containers Emerges from Small Midwest Farm
Fresh Plaza: Landwirtin kreiert umweltfreundliche Verpackung (Farmer Creates Environmentally Friendly Packaging)
Kentucky Department of Agriculture newsletter article: A Better Box 
Perishable News: Tomato Grower Introduces New Sustainable Produce Container

The Packer: Search for Sustainable Packaging Spurs New Product Line


​We currently supply our sun sugar cherry tomatoes in the pint containers at the following stores during the summer season (we recommend calling first):Green Bean Delivery, Kremer's Market, Kroger stores in Anderson OH, Centerville OH, Independence KY, Newport KY, Union KY, Walton KY


- Professional-looking vented container
- Alternative to the plastic clamshells that no USA recycling centers will take
- Quart holds 1.5 pounds of cherry tomatoes, 1 quart of strawberries, guava, dates, kiwis
- Low Profile Pint holds cherry or campari tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries, angelcots, figs, cherry plums or hand made soaps
- Half-pint available in one motion fold auto-bottom design!
- Made from Kraftpack cardboard or the Low Profile Pint is also available in SBS cardboard stock
- Rigid enough to stack multiple containers or other items on top of the containers, great for CSA deliveries
- Earth-themed vents allow good visibility from all sides (sun, rain, plants/flowers, wind, moon, heavens, earthworms/dirt) yet provide structural integrity to the box
- Vents allow airflow, minimizes condensation
- Holds up well during temperature transitions from field to refrigerator
- Hinged lid has locking straight tab on front and moon-shaped locks on sides
- Locking options of quick side slide or pushing tabs into the moons for a more secure seal
- Room on top side for a sticker up to 3”x4” or wrap a label over the lid edge
- For higher moisture content challenges, a super stiff material, and quantities over 85k, the container can be made in a microflute similar to McDonalds Fish Filet sandwich cardboard containers. This material is actually the least expensive if you have the quantities to support it.
- For quart and pint there is a 4 step box assembly then 1 to 3 step locking process (our packers apply labels and fold the boxes at the same time and average 100 boxes/hour, they are paid $0.10/box), for the pint it is an autobox design and opens in one motion.
- optional automated assembly options include a one motion jig for around $400 and a fully automated folding machine for around $80k that will fold 1500 cartons per hour, for smaller operations our folding fixture is available for $50.
- Shipped in cases of 150 (low profile pint) or 200 (quart) weighing 12-14 pounds
- Exterior dimensions shipping box: 15”L x 15W” x 4”H (Low Profile Pint), 15"L x 16"W x 6"H (Quart)
- Exterior dimensions assembled: 7”L x 4.25”W x 1.5”H (Low Profile Pint), 7”L x 4.25”W x 3”H (Quart) 
- Interior dimensions assembled: 6.375”L x 4.125”W x 1.45”H (Low Profile Pint) 6.375”L x 4.125”W x 2.875”H (Quart)
- Quart Weight: 1.5 ounces (plastic clamshell is approximately 1 ounce), Pint Weight: 1.25 ounces
- Competitively priced (call for wholesale pricing 859-630-2694)
- Compostable, recyclable, easily biodegradable
- Small amount of adhesive used in half pint container
- Patent-pending US 62/710,915
- Full color printing is available on the white Low Profile Pint
- 1 or 2 color printing is available on the Kraftpak Half Pint, Low Profile Pint and Quart
- Click here for flier: FLIER
- Less waste
- Happier customers
- A better world

I developed these eco-friendly containers to hold my sun sugar cherry tomatoes because of a frustration with the expensive molded pulp berry containers lacking lids and the waste of plastic clamshells. Although most plastic companies say they make the clear PET plastic clamshells from recycled content (it always says "up to" some high percentage) most consumers can’t recycle them since virtually no stores will take them back like they do plastic bags. Plus most community recycling centers will just accept #1s with spouts and throw away the plastic clamshells that customers THINK they are recycling. It is confusing since water bottles (which are also a #1 PETE) can be recycled. Water bottles have a stronger UV coating, melt at a different temperature, and do not have adhesive labels like plastic produce clamshells or printing on the container (a contaminant). This makes water bottles recyclable and desirable and produce clamshells just trash and a burden to the recycling stream. Reusing plastic clamshells is not an option since sanitizing them with extremely hot water (like in a dishwasher) will cause them to melt. So they get thrown into a landfill where they’ll take more than 200+ years to biodegrade. This doesn’t seem fair to repay the earth for its bounty with a chemical cocktail it can do nothing with.

Thanks so much for your interest in these new Sustainable Produce Containers! See below to place an order - the more orders we get, the lower the cost/container can be!  Also, if you need an even stronger material in this design, for orders of 80,000 we can make either size in an F microflute cardboard. 

- Linda Fritz, Owner Sun Sugar Farms, 888-883-7259

Hate those plastic clamshells for tomatoes and berries? Package your produce professionally AND sustainably with this low-profile vented container from Sun Sugar Farms. Our Sustainable Produce Container holds 1.5 pounds of cherry tomatoes or 1 quart of strawberries and is also perfect for merchandising fresh blackberries, raspberries, and even gauva, dates, kiwi and taramind pods! Made from easy to recycle Kraftpak or SBS paperboard, these containers are rigid enough for multiple containers to stack on top of it while still protecting your produce. The earth-themed cut outs allow good visibility from all angles and encourage air in and around the produce. These vents also help to minimize condensation from temperature transitions and preserve the freshness of the product. The middle tab on the hinged lid snaps into the front slot and the two side tabs can be latched by pushing in the moon for a secure seal. There’s a flat top surface for a label of up to 3”x4” or you can also wrap a label over the lid edge for long-term closure. The autobox design Half Pint opens in one motion!

Our Sustainable Produce Container is the cost-competitive, environmentally-friendly packaging alternative to the waste of plastic produce containers. It can be accepted as cardboard by all recycling centers or it can also easily biodegrade in a backyard compost pile. The containers ship flat in cases of 150 or 200 or by the pallet, saving you space. An easy 3 step assembly has your employees loading the containers with your produce and securing the box with the lid’s quick-locking tabs or opening the container in one motion. All the things that go into creating your produce - the sun, rain, plants, heavens, wind and even the earthworms - then give the customer a fun peak at the tastiness that awaits them when they buy your produce! 


Please call Linda toll free at 888-883-7259, email linda AT sunsugarfarms DOT com or click on the first image below to order if you are interested in trying out this container! We would love your feedback! Low Profile Pint and Quart in Kraftpak is available now, 2 pound is planned for later this year. Call for pallet pricing.

See video below on how to assemble the Low Profile Pint or Quart or order our Folding Fixture (the half-pint assembles in one motion)

PRESS: The Sustainable Produce Container from Sun Sugar Farms is the cost-competitive, environmentally-friendly packaging alternative to the long term pollution of plastic produce containers. Designed by a midwest cherry tomato farmer, the earth-themed vents represent all the elements that went into creating the produce: the sun, rain, plants, heavens, wind and even the earthworms. It has two locking mechanisms, either by sliding the tabs into the sides or by pushing the moon tabs into the sides. Unlike the plastic clamshells that most recycling centers won't take, the Sustainable Produce Container can be accepted as cardboard by all recycling centers or it can also easily biodegrade in a backyard compost pile. The containers ship flat in cases or by the pallet, saving space, and can be stacked higher than plastic clamshells. There's room on top for a label or all boxes can be printed on in large enough quantities. 


Q: What is the Low Profile Pint in white made of?
A: Candesce solid bleached sulphate (SBS) paperboard (similar to candy boxes)

Q: What is the brown material that the Quart comes in?

A: Kraftpak (similar to bakery boxes)

Q: Why don't you use recycled material?
A: We wanted to ensure that we had materials that would meet food safety standards.

Q: What other materials can the containers be made of?
A: For orders over 85,000 the containers can be made in a "F" microflute. We are also exploring making the containers in a new paperboard that is 50% grass fiber. This would require an order over 100k.

Q: Does this product conform to the FDA regulations (Regulation and Deregulation of Additives for Use in Food Contact Paper in the U.S.) for direct food contact?
A: Both pints and quart are approved for food and direct contact.

Q: Does this meet BRC Global standards for papermaking and conversion?
A: Yes.

Q: Do you have appropriate food safety documentation?
A: Documentation can be provided concerning both SBS and Kraftpak.

Q: What would be the cost for custom dies to create larger / smaller containers?
A: Estimated die costs can range between $2,000 and $15,000 depending on the size, material and quantities desired. Other sizes in the planning stages are a 3 pound container (11"L x 7.25"W x 3"H) and 1/2 pint size (5"L x 4.5"W x 1.75"H).

Q: What would the lead time be to create new vent dies?
A: Lead time can range between 4 to 10 weeks, depending on schedules, material availability and quantities desired.

Q: What is the cost for custom vent dies?A: Estimated die costs can range between $1,000 and $6,000 depending on the size, material and quantities desired. 

Q: How many colors can this be printed?
A: The Low Profile Pint in SBS can be full color, crisp, detailed graphics while the Kraftpak Quart or Pint can also be printed in all colors but darker, single colors are recommended.

Q: What are the print plate costs?
A: There are no separate print plate costs, that cost is factored into the piece pricing. Under 30,000 the pricing could be significantly higher.


Q: What is the coating on the white item?
A: It is a layer of mineral or synthetic pigment that is hygienic that allows for excellent printing properties.

Q: Is it Kosher?
A: We are not aware if either material has been tested to be Kosher.

Q: Is it degradable?
A: Moisture and heat levels will influence how it will break down. In our backyard compost bins both SBS and Kraftpak have completely degraded within 10-14 days.

Q: Have you done any testing with mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, etc.?
A: We have shipped over 3000 pints of cherry tomatoes in 2018 season in the SBS Low Profile Pint container and almost 3000 in the Kraftpak version in 2019. No specific testing has been done with other vegetables other than small tests in standard refrigeration units.

Q: Once packed with berries would it withstand 40 days in a cooler?
A: In unofficial testing we have kept berries and other produce in the containers for over 2 weeks with no adverse effects.

Q: Has the container been tested to see how well it will handle the moisture of the cooler?
A: No official testing has been done but it will absorb juices from softer fruit without losing its composition.

Q: How long will it take for the product to break down in both aerobic & anaerobic environments?
A: Both the SBS pint and Kraftpak quart have broken down in an unturned anaerobic compost pile within 10 days.

Q: Do you have any independent test results?
A: Not at this time.

Q: Why is there limited product visibility?
A: The design accounted for as much product visibility as possible while maintaining the structural integrity of the box. The sliding side tabs allow a quick inspection of the full contents and then can be pushed into the moons for a fast lock.


Q: What is the recommended method for securely fastening the container?
A: Insert the lid's center tab into the long slot and then slide the two tabs on the lid into the side walls.

Q: Can the container be tamper-resistant?
A: Yes, instead of sliding in the enclosure tabs into the side walls, press the moons on the tabs into the box. It is difficult to open the box without ripping the moons. 

Q: Why is it more expensive than standard plastic clamshells?
A: Plastic clamshells were introduced in the mid-1980s. For a case of 352 of the 1-pound vented quarts, prices range between $0.11-$0.09/container depending on quantity. The new Sustainable Produce Container was introduced summer of 2018 and its price is $0.34-$0.19/container but it would take up less space and costs less to ship since it ships flat. As volumes increase we expect costs will go down and in a few years the pricing could be under $0.15/container. Also, our container is less expensive than any other environmentally-friendly options currently on the market.

Q:  Why is the half-pint in a pre-glued auto bottom format?
A:  This small amount of adhesive makes it easier to open this smaller container in one motion. The future square pint and 2 pound version will also be in this design.

Q: Is the product rigid enough to stand up to extreme handling?
A: The Kraftpak is denser cardboard than the Low Profile Pint SBS and is, therefore, the more rigid choice. If extreme handling conditions are required to be withstood and volumes are greater than 85,000, there is the option to produce the container in a microflute material. This is the same type of "F" flute cardboard that is used by McDonald's restaurants for their Fish Filet Sandwiches.

Q: What options do you have to speed assembly for commercial packing and automated filling and closing?
A: We have been quoted automated assembly options that include a one motion jig for around $400 and a fully automated folding machine for around $80k that will fold 1500 cartons per hour, for smaller operations our Folding Fixture is available for $50.

Q: What alternative materials can you produce the containers in that would not use trees?                       
A: A European paper company, Gratenau  & Hesselbacher in Hamburg, Germany, produces a new paper thick enough to be made into the pint and quart sizes that is made from 50% Grass Fibre (see picture above!). That's right, 50% of the content is from grass! The volumes required to make the containers from this are quite high but if you are a big USA grower that is super serious about sustainability this is the material for you. If you are in Europe we would also need to coordinate a printer who can make the box after getting the paper from Gratenau & Hesselbacher so this endeavor is not for the faint-hearted. If you're still interested, please contact Linda at symbol SunSugarFarms dot com to discuss the costs (the die, manufacturing, shipping).

Q: Can the Sustainable Produce Container help produce last longer?                       
A: While offering the same volume as a plastic clamshell, the SPC offers a much sturdier package that can be stacked at least double the recommended grocery store standard of 2 clamshells high. This will prevent the bruising that can lead to deterioration. And since they are a solid container except for a few vents, they may also protect your produce from the UV light emitted from grocery stores' fluorescent display lights.

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