Category Archive: Material Handling

Paper vs Plastic


paper box vs plastic box

Paper or plastic?? These days, answering that question in any store will cost you 10 cents. In the world of boxes, answering that same question could cost you 7-10 times more depending on the material you choose. As paper boxes (and their competitive prices) are almost ubiquitous today, people are shocked when they see pricing for the same box in corrugated plastic. 7-10 times more!?!? WHAT THE HECK!

The fact is, in most applications corrugated paper works great. It’s available in thicknesses ranging from E flute (.07”) all the way up to Game of Thrones Ice wall thick. With the many coating options available, it has become a very diverse material.

I know what you’re thinking… Why are you singing corrugated papers praises…? Don’t you guys convert corrugated plastic? WE DOOOO! However, we can’t be honest without acknowledging corrugated papers place in the world.

Corrugated plastic has a place as well… though it’s a little more niche. It’s exemplary when durability, longevity, cleanliness, temperature swings or solvents and liquid exposure is a concern.

For example­, the United States Postal Service uses corrugated plastic bins and mail totes because of the long-term durability. In the 90’s, Dole foods switched to corrugated plastic asparagus boxes to address recycling concerns surrouding wax coated corrugated. 20 years later, they realize that they handle the cold storage better than the original boxes. REAL D went with corrugated plastic collection bins for their 3D glasses since paper corrugated (even coated) couldn’t stand up to daily abuse in movie theaters.

Today, thousands of different products including medical vials and components, ESD sensitive electronic components, automotive parts, and products that require cold storage (medical and food), are all stored, shipped, and handled using corrugated plastic. Guess it’s a pretty big niche!

Now hold on a minute… What about the 7-10 times cost increase over paper? Well that’s an interesting one… Washington State Liquor Control Board had that same issue.  When they started monitoring the tote usage, they stopped counting at 40 times the use of the previously purchased heavy duty, solid fiber totes.  Quite possibly the implementing of corrugated plastic totes for USPS and WSLCB could be the only government programs that actually saved money over the life of the project. When you do the math, a reusable/returnable container costing 10 times its standard corrugated competition, lasting 40 times longer is actually a 75% reduction in actual cost.  A 75% reduction in cost is something you can get a raise for!  Of course, it must be a reusable, returnable application, otherwise it is just expensive packaging. How do you like them apples… or asparagus??

The Three R’s… Reduce Reuse Recycle

The three R’s… We all know them… REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

This little jingle got its start sometime in the raging 70’s (wasn’t born then so I’m not speaking from experience). Many credit U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin for kickstarting this environmental movement that eventually birthed the EPA and subsequently the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.

As the hangover from the 70’s wore off, America has been increasingly more conscious about what it’s using and how much it’s using. So much so, that those of us lucky enough to find ourselves in the People’s Republic of California have been relegated to paper straws that disintegrate as you use them! Given that there’s still an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic thrown into the ocean on any given year, I think a normal person would agree that the three R’s are important to practice.But…

What if there’s an even better way…


My Grandpa used to tell me, ‘if three is good, six is better…’


Now, I know what you’re thinking… I’m mocking our local turtles for having straw issues… BUT, that’s not the case! At Kiva Container we have worked hard for the last 30+ years to create durable, functional, bespoke plastic packaging that absolutely can be and should be reused not once, not twice, but over and over again! Heck, we’ve got customers that are using the same product handling bins from nearly 20 years ago, you want to talk about multiple R’s! Much to the detriment of our bottom line, they’re not looking at replacing them anytime soon!

There are many ways to be conscious about your footprint on the earth, some people point to electric cars, some people point to metal or glass containers, some even point to wind and solar. We think one huge way is to buy quality products and use, reuse, reuse and reuse them. Don’t buy a new cheap trendy briefcase every two to three years, buy a quality, timeless one once, and be done. Same thing with shoes, wallets, cars, and jeans. Same can be said for material handling totes, bins, and packaging. And for that which you can’t reuse, make it out of something easy to recycle like PET, HDPE or PP. Or even better, make it out of RPET which has already been recycled at least once!! That way you’re still in the reuse stage!

Give us a call and let us help you design packaging that is reusable, returnable and ultimately sustainable. Because in the end with that kind of goal, we all win!

Durability, reusability, returnability = serious cost savings

These pictures are probably familiar, (usually seen while praying that your luggage arrived safely from wherever you were coming from). In this case, I was praying that my luggage and golf clubs arrived safely in Detroit. We were going to Southern Michigan for a couple days, getting some much-needed R&R and low and behold, luggage handling tubs!

But not just any tubs, OUR tubs! I had to take a picture (actually a couple), and then I remembered, since we offer a warranty, we form the MFG date into the tub. I had to get a look at when these were made… August of 2008. Not lying, check the pictures. That means these puppies have been in circulation for over a decade. Getting thrown around, hammered in the underground conveyer systems, dropped, smashed, stepped on, forgotten in the cold (it’s Detroit), forgotten in the heat (it’s Detroit), forgotten in the humidity (it’s Detroit) and just plain forgotten (it’s Detroit) and they’re still going strong!

Durability, reusability, returnability    Durability, reusability, returnability

This is an absolute testament to what we strive for day-in and day-out. Durable, reusable, returnable, custom packaging (or material handling) products that solve problems and more than pay for themselves.

Just a little cost analysis for you. When these were first implemented, John Wayne Airport in Southern California found that using the totes to handle bags instead of placing the bags directly on the conveyers decreased overall handling and realignment needs by over 80%, while simultaneously reducing the time it took to get bags to the flight line by nearly 20 minutes with the new screening required by TSA. These totes today cost anywhere from $20-$35 each, depending on quantity, color, and size. If the average tote lasts for 10 years, that’s around $3 +/- a year, at two cycles a day (John Wayne said they averaged over 4). That works out to be less than $.005 / trip. No typo there, less than a penny a day. Given the cost of time and people, I can comfortably say these totes created YUGE cost savings. YUGE is a common word used in finance and accounting.

Reliable, reusable, returnable plastic packaging for the right project pays dividends for life! Give us a call and see how we can help you save money by switching to custom plastic packaging and material handling totes!

Custom Packaging Protects Valuable Parts

Take the opportunity to invest in your business by reducing costs over the life of your products with reusable/returnable plastic packaging.

Custom packaging and dunnage reduce product damage in three main ways:

  1. Maximizes safe storage and shipping space in warehouses, decreasing overall handling.
  2. Helps reduce inventory shrinkage, improves cleanliness, reduces losses from product handling and shipping damage.
  3. Custom formed dunnage can take up to 70% less space in your warehouse compared to typical foam dunnage while exceeding product protection in shipping and handling.

Returnable plastic packaging increases profit by reducing the per/trip cost of packaging for those systems that can return the packaging back to the original source.

If the final stop for your product packaging is a landfill, you are losing money. Kiva designs plastic packaging specific to your product. We can utilize stock totes with custom dunnage or custom totes and dunnage. Many times, the best options is a combination of totes and formed parts, capitalizing on the benefits of multiple substrates, Kiva is the only manufacturer that handles multiple substrates – IN HOUSE!

We are answering all questions at:
714-630-3850 or email at

Is Your Supply Chain Perfect?

Do your parts and supplies have all the right packages? Are your storage and shipping containers part of your Lean supply chain and ERP solutions?

Or, are you experiencing errors and reduced efficiency because you’re not using optimal storage solutions? Could new containers for shipping, storage, and parts transfer solve some of these problems? Kiva Container understands your challenges and needs. We’ve designed solutions for nearly every phase of the aerospace supply chain from manufacturing to distribution for over 25 years.

We’ll be glad to work with you to create reusable plastic solutions for your ever-evolving and changing needs, including:

  1. Work in process storage
  2. Inbound part containers
  3. Outbound part containers
  4. Device storage
  5. Finished product storage
  6. Delivery packaging

We hope we’re contacting you “just in time” to meet your needs for storage solutions and packaging that will significantly speed up and smooth out your supply chain.

If you’ve ever lost parts because of poor packaging — and if you’ve been thinking of ways to improve your efficiency and organization — Kiva Container has the experience you need. We can also partner with you as you plan and provide container and packaging solutions for upcoming and emerging projects and design changes.

Kiva Container has the expertise and skill to meet your needs for packaging and containers, from the smallest parts and sensitive electronics and display screens to large, bulky item packaging.

Contact us today to discuss your recycled plastic supply chain packaging and storage needs.

Auto / Industrial Operations? Reusable Packaging Is An Optimal Choice

From large bulk storage to handheld totes, reusable plastic packaging and storing is a great choice for your automotive business, parts business, or industrial plant.

What are some of the benefits of reusable plastic packaging in your operation?

  • Better access to parts at workstations
  • Reduced travel time in warehouses and work areas
  • Reduced loss due to damage
  • Maximized storage space and efficiency

Here are a few other benefits you may not have thought of, including safety and risk management. Reusable plastic packaging not only reduces damage to inventory and supplies, it also reduces the chance of workplace injuries or mishaps. Efficient stacking and storage methods using containers that are designed for your needs that also reduce weight on pallets.

Reusable packaging can be an optimal purchase:

According to a 2019 study published in the journal of sustainability, industrial and systems engineers studied the benefits of reusable packaging for the automotive industry, concluding that they ultimately saved money and preserved the environment for short term, longer term, or permanent use. Customized packaging did save time and money on assembly lines, and according to the study authors, could be an “optimal” purchase decision. For cost and environmental benefits, GM, Hyundai, Chrysler, and Ford all use returnable, reusable plastic packaging.

Reusable plastic packaging for your business is a smart, sustainable idea that works financially and environmentally.

Spring Cleaning? Upgrade to Reusable Plastic Packaging!

Whether at home or in your business, you’re probably thinking about cleaning up, organizing, and optimizing your space and products or supplies. Spring cleaning time is nearly here.

So, how can you clean up, organize, and still be environmentally friendly?

Reusable plastic packaging is one great way to get your spring cleaning and organizing done on time and with the good results you want for your business finances and management.

According to the EPA’s blog, businesses should “reuse whenever possible.” The World Economic Forum recommends increasing reusable packaging as an environmentally sound solution.

If your warehouse is using single-use plastic packaging or your logistics department has disposable plastic containers or packaging, spring is the perfect time to consider making a change.

Not only can you recycle single-use containers and packaging, you can optimize your space and rethink your shipping and storage solutions. In any location in your business, you can create a cleaner, neater, more organized environment with durable, clean, and neat reusable plastic packaging and containers.

While you’re doing spring cleaning, you may have a lot of waste you must dispose of. There’s no getting around that, but if you find a lot of single-use plastic containers or shipping and packing solutions, why not set yourself up for a sustainable year to come with reusable plastic packaging?

Next spring, you’ll find your cleaning will go much more quickly and easily. You’ll save money over time without the need to purchase disposable packaging, too. Keeping your business tidy and the environment clean is much easier with reusable plastic packaging. So give us a call at Kiva Container and make this spring cleaning the best for your business.

Get Green! Save Money & The Environment with Reusable Plastic Packaging!

Have you heard how plastic is terrible for the environment? Single-use, disposable plastics aren’t green at all. Certain plastics can take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Throwing them away and burying them in a landfill almost guarantees disposable plastics will last ten or more lifetimes.

According to National Geographic, 91% of the plastic we put in the recycling bin doesn’t get recycled. Some of it is shipped overseas, and a lot of it ends up in the ocean.

What’s the solution? Don’t use disposable plastic. If you use plastic, it should be reusable. The durable qualities of plastic make it a poor choice for disposable packaging and an excellent choice for reusable packaging.

Reusable plastic packaging could be one of the greenest packaging solutions out there. Plastic’s toughness and durability makes it an excellent choice for reusable packaging.

Reusable plastic packaging is also designed to be fully recyclable when it’s time to be retired. Over 90% of single-use plastics aren’t effectively recyclable — the main reason why they aren’t recycled.

Taking advantage of plastic’s toughness and using it to benefit your business packaging needs could be one of the greenest and best financial decisions you make.