Pros and Cons of Plastic Storage Containers
When considering plastic storage boxes, be sure to look for polypropylene or polyethylene. Both of these plastics have been tested as safe in conservators’ artificial aging scenarios (oddy tests). Polypropylene usually has the initials “PP” on the base under the recycling symbol. Polyethylene products contain a “PE” in addition to other letters (i.e. HDPE, LDPE).
- Poly boxes offer flood protection.
- Poly boxes create a micro-climate that will drastically slow changes in RH (moisture equilibration).
- Poly boxes are often available in clear, allowing for increased visibility of interior artifacts and humidity indicator strips.
- Poly boxes allow for a desiccated micro-environment with the use of silica gel—especially helpful in cases where metal is corroding.
- While all boxes deter insects, only poly boxes keep rodents out.
- Depending on type, size, and source, poly boxes can be less expensive than archival board boxes.
- Poly boxes can store and retain acidity and do not contain buffering agents to counteract acidity.
- If RH level is high in the micro-climate, risks intensify.
- Larger size poly boxes are not made or sold for preservation purposes and may contain additives that are potentially harmful for artifact preservation.
- Depending on type, size, and source, poly boxes can be more expensive than archival board boxes.
Posted on January 27, 2012, in collections access, collections care, collections management, disaster preparedness, storage and tagged oddy test, polyethylene, polypropylene, storage containers. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.