ALC Distribution Containers with Lid - Guide 2023

ALC Distribution Containers with Lid - Guide 2023
Reusable packaging is not just about the product, but about the system in which this product functions, fulfills its function, is collected and returns for use. Tim Debus, President of the Reusable Packaging Association (South Africa)

The above quote indicates that it is worth looking at reusable packaging as part of the whole circular process. Acting sustainably is essential today because of the environment and consumer demands. According to the study Reusing packaging is a sustainable solution

In this article, we will highlight how distribution containers, also known as ALC containers, are valuable to customers by being returnable rather than disposable. How do they foster efficiencies in supply chains from the point of packaging to delivery and customer delivery?

Distribution containers - basic information

ALC distribution containers are the standard in reusable shipping distribution of small goods, order picking, and warehousing. Their purpose is to protect the products being transported.

They are very versatile and practical for use in supply chains. They are suitable for pallet loading and stacking. Due to their functional design, they are a frequent choice among many companies. They can be nested inside the other once the goods have been emptied, saving up to 75% of space on the return journey. Many sizes and types of distribution containers are available. These packs have attached lids that snap shut to protect the contents from dust and seals at both ends for extra security. They can be specially labelled as part of personalisation so that the containers stand out in the distribution process.

There are many reasons why ALC distribution containers are so popular. Some of their advantages include the following:

  • Efficient use of storage space - nesting capability saves space in return transport and during storage,
  • ease of handling - when goods are stored in containers, they can be easily manoeuvred, making them a popular choice for any mode of transport,
  • security of the goods - thanks to the tightly closed attached lid with the seal,
  • long service life - the containers can be reused over and over again for many years, making them ideal packaging for circulation work,
  • DURABILITY - the plastic used to make the containers is strong, and very durable,
  • the possibility of promoting the brand, thanks to the option of placing the company's logo on the containers.

For more details on the design and use of distribution containers, see article 7 advantages of plastic containers for distribution.

Application of ALC containers in various industries

As we have mentioned, lidded containers (ALCs) are versatile containers widely used in multiple industries due to their durability, space-saving, and ease of use. Here are some examples of the use of ALC containers in numerous sectors:

Retail and e-commerce industry

In the retail and e-commerce industry, speed of delivery is essential. ALC distribution containers are perfect for this. They significantly save space and time when handling, transporting, and storing goods, minimise waste, and can intensify the efficiency of the entire retail network. They also ensure safe and secure transport thanks to their security seals and clip-on lids.

Retail and e-commerce industry

Customers using nested containers with lids have noticed a noticeable improvement in logistics processes and a significant cost reduction. There is no need to set aside additional funds to purchase cardboard boxes, and the money saved can be used in other areas of the business.

Postal sector

Nested containers maximize the efficiency of postal centres and sorting areas. They fit perfectly on standard pallets or in roll containers. They are made from robust materials and are ideal for mail sorting and transport. Furthermore, they have the option of sealing, which further increases the security of the stored goods. Thanks to their trapezoidal design, the empty containers "slide" one into the other, which saves the cost of return transport with open packages. They are also compatible with automatic sorting systems. They are, therefore, suitable for the fast and safe movement of goods, can be used to store a variety of consignments, from loose parcels to letters, and have the effect of increasing the efficiency of the postal industry.

Logistics and 3PL industry

Logistics companies and 3PLs are our loyal customers, and our ever-expanding ALC series of containers is top-rated due to its space-saving design. Moreover, suitably adapted nested containers make it easier to find the right products in a given space. This is a challenge, especially in areas that combine raw material storage and production areas, as well as picking, packing, inventory, and national and international distribution processes.

Logistics and 3PL industry

In the 3PL industry, the mode of transport often changes. Goods are usually transported to the manufacturer in a large truck with a tarp and then in a smaller van to the end user. For this reason, distribution containers suit the changing nature of the business. Thanks to the different variations in the height of the containers in our range, we can provide flexibility to our customers' logistics processes.

The cosmetic and medical industry

This is the most sensitive of industries due to the need for sterile cleanliness. Medical supplies, medicines, and cosmetics are directly used in the human body, so even the slightest mistake can have dangerous consequences. Pharmaceutical manufacturers most often use plastic containers to ship their products to medical and healthcare facilities, as plastic has the strength to keep these goods safe during transport. Sealing containers also promotes the safety of medicines or valuable cosmetics.

The cosmetic and medical industry

Offices and Administration

In the administrative sector, confidential documents are often transported. Some of our customers, such as local authorities, used distribution containers with lids to transport ballot papers because they were hygienic and robust. Because the containers were sealable, they protected against unauthorized access and ensured the documents' security. In turn, their convenient trapezoidal design meant that large quantities of ballots could be easily transported to another location and empty ones nested inside the other, thus saving transport costs.

Removal industry

In the removal business, distribution containers are convenient as they are suitable for packing demanding items and can be transported long distances. The robust locking and sealing further protects the transported goods from unauthorized persons. Careful loading and unloading are also crucial in the removals' industry. Nesting containers are solid and stable, so there is no risk of product damage as with cardboard boxes. The sturdy plastic material of ALC containers helps to protect the cargo during transport so that it arrives at its destination in the same condition as it was packed.

ALC boxes rental is a way to stock up quickly

It is worth considering the rental of distribution packaging, especially when you need to expand your storage space during busy periods. This may prove necessary if, for example, your customer has placed an order several times larger than usual, raw material prices have changed, or other local economic fluctuations have the effect of temporarily increasing the number of deliveries required. In these situations, we quickly deliver the distribution containers and another necessary packaging you need at the place and time you specify. What's practical about the rental service is that we collect unwanted packaging after the peak season, so it doesn't take up unnecessary storage space. You won't incur additional purchasing costs.

Rental of distribution containers for drug stores - the case of the client

One of the customers using our packaging is a rapidly growing drug store brand, which is opening more and more stationery shops in Europe and conducts successful online sales. The customer needed packaging that would meet its logistical requirements, protect valuable products from unauthorized access and be convenient to handle, both in the distribution centre and in the narrow aisles of the shops where the products were arriving. Given the surge in product demand, a flexible logistics solution was needed as new shops were stocked.

Due to the dynamic growth of the client's company, we proposed long-term container rental. The flexibility of the process was based primarily on the fact that, as and when needed (new outlets being opened), the client's logistics managers ordered the required quantity of products. If they were not needed, they were returned to Rotom's warehouses. As the number of shops grew, the client made several rental tranches, totalling around 46,000 containers. As a result, the rented containers fit perfectly into the client's supply chain, enabling efficient and fast deliveries, and thanks to their specific design, they met all our client's expectations. You can read more about the distribution container rental process in the article Rental of plastic containers for a drugstore chain.

Pooling of distribution containers as a sustainable solution

Pooling, or packaging circulation, is an excellent way of extending the life cycle of transport carriers. We take care of the entire cycle, from collecting empty packaging from your customers to redelivering it already prepared for re-dispatch. We also take care of the quality of the packaging used by carrying out regular repairs and maintenance. In the pooling service, you have full control over your packaging because, thanks to an online application, you know exactly where and how much packaging is in circulation.

By not being burdened with the logistics of returns throughout the supply chain but instead working with an experienced partner to manage the supply of containers or other packaging, you gain time, and your company achieves tangible savings. What does this look like in practice? How does pooling save costs? Find out in the article: Gain financial benefits by using returnable packaging.


Overall, ALC distribution containers are practical carriers that work well in many industries. They are easy to load, offer excellent protection, take up little space, and can be reused. They provide a cost-effective and efficient way to transport valuable goods while maintaining safety measures.

We are ready to provide further information on their application and the possibility of purchasing, renting, or pooling. Contact our specialists, who can match the proper logistic carrier to your supply chain needs or applications.