Housewares company Copco used to make plastic storage containers for cabinets and drawers, but abandoned them in favor of mesh years ago. Now the plastic units are coming back, taking advantage of what designer Dave Starr considers Copco's material advantage.
[Plastics] is an area that we're very good at, and it allows us to achieve things in design that we can't with other materials, Starr said at the International Home + Housewares Show, held March 6-8 in Chicago.
Copco, part of Wilton Industries Inc. of Woodbridge, Ill., works closely with its molders and materials suppliers to find its way onto more store shelves and consumers' kitchens, said Starr, director of design and product development. Plastics is a key part of its strategy.
For cabinet storage, that means taking advantage of the ability to overmold thermoplastic elastomers on rigid plastics so bins do not rattle around in drawers, something that is not available for metal mesh bins. It is using its design knowledge for new storage systems for under the sink that buyers can reconfigure around pipes.
In material choices, it has introduced cold-drink cups using Eastman Chemical Co.'s Tritan copolyester, but also is introducing new cups using styrene acrylonitrile so it can compete in an aggressive marketplace for lower-cost items, Starr said.
And it worked extensively with molders and mold makers on its Mix 2 Go line of Tritan-based water bottles, he said. The blow molded bottles have a cavity within the base designed to hold pre-measured drink mixes that users add to flavor their water.
The company has other plastic projects in the works, from a greater variety of cups and glasses to countertop storage, Starr said, and it expects to continue to rely on plastics to bring those products to market.