Let’s be honest. Plastics are problematic…particularly those of the single-use variety. However, there are applications in the food and personal care industry where a plastic component is better suited. So, when is a plastic lid the better choice?
To be clear…plastic lids are not suitable for processes that require heat processing or the formation of vacuum in order to make a seal. This means that they can not be used for water bath canning, pressure canning, steam induction capping etc.
If you are a producer, it is your job to ensure that you are using an approved process for your products and have the proper packaging that meets those requirements. We’d recommend our Food Processing Resources page for assistance.
Refrigerated products like sauerkraut, kimchi, and other ferments can sometimes be acidic which will begin to corrode the coating of a metal lid, and/or accelerate rusting of the metal lid. Even if it’s not acidic, the moisture present in the jar can eventually cause this to happen as well. In this case, the expected length of time the product might set in refrigeration before being used should be considered. For example, yogurt (depending on the type) can be expected to be sold and consumed within a time frame shorter than when one would expect rusting to begin. In these cases, a plastic lid may be the better choice.
Generally, waste-conscious consumers are more likely to re-purpose or re-use a quality plastic lid if it hasn’t absorbed the aroma of its original contents. They can run them through the dishwasher as many times as they wish without fear of rust setting in.
Consumers don’t always know when to expect a product to be sealed, or understand the type of seal certain products should or should not have. The iconic “pop” when opening a jar with a metal lid is great when it’s a product that should have it, but people don’t always understand when they twist off a metal lid and it doesn’t pop. There are cases where metal lids are used even though they’re not required. In such situations, it’s helpful to be aware that there may be misunderstandings, so that those selling your product can have clarity in their communications with end-users.
Our plastic lids are available in a wide range of sizes and with a variety of liners. The type of liner will be identified in the description. If you are trying to find lid options that will match a jar that we carry, the best way to see which lids are compatible with the jar is to view the “accessories” that are attached to the jar.
When are plastic lids the better choice? It really depends on the specifics of your application.
See our Guide to Liners in Lids & Caps to learn more about liners and coatings available.