pool chemical packaging

Want Better Pool Chemical Packaging? Consider These 5 Things.


By 2032, the worldwide market for swimming pool chemicals is expected to reach $1.72 billion.

In this fast-growing market, how can you make sure to stand out from the sea of other brands in the pool chemical industry?

Beyond the product itself, one of the answers is packaging. New innovations to packaging technologies present a key opportunity to enhance the consumer experience of your product (while saving money). 

1. The Consumer Experience with Pool Cleaning

Because of the corrosive nature of pool chemicals, rigid pails have been the go-to packaging format for products like chlorinating tablets and water balancers. Pails can withstand corrosion while providing product protection and child resistance.

But, while rigid containers offer relatively safe storage of pool chemicals, they’re not as ideal as other packaging formats when it comes to the consumer experience. Pails take up more space than other packages, are heavy, and can be difficult to open. They’re not always air-tight, and the product-to-package ratio can mean more shifting of the product, so tablets may crumble or break apart because of repeated contact with the rigid structure.

Fortunately, developments in flexible packaging films and closures have brought a new packaging format to the pool chemical industry. Flexible packaging formats that feature high-performance films and features not only withstand the product but protect it. The product-to-package ratio is smaller, meaning less shifting of the product. It is also more ideal for e-commerce than rigid pails and can be more cost-effective. In fact, in a study by the FPA, 57% of brand owners lowered production costs after transitioning to use of flexible packaging.

chart about brand experience cost benefits with flexible packaging

Research by the FPA shows brands experience cost benefits when switching to flexible packaging formats.

CPGs and industries like agri-chemical and lawn and garden are quickly noticing the benefits of flexible packaging, so much so that the flexible packaging industry saw $31.8 billion in sales in 2018. Some pool chemical producers are already utilizing flexible packaging for products like shock treatments to optimize the consumer experience. These products are largely found in single-use pouches that are opened, emptied, and discarded.

With most of the pool chemical industry still opting for rigid containers or using single-use flexible pouches, you can show consumers that you’re prioritizing their experience of the product by moving to a new and improved packaging format that includes reclosability.

2. Child Resistance is Critical for Pool Chemical Packaging

According to the CDC, pool chemical injuries led to an estimated 13,508 emergency department visits in the U.S. from 2015-2017. Out of those, a third involved children under the age of 18. With child safety a primary concern for consumers and pool chemicals regulated under the EPA, brands face the challenge of finding child-resistant packaging that’s also user-friendly.

Child with floaties swimming in a clean pool.

Flexible packaging for pool chemicals can keep young children safe from accidental exposure with proven child-resistant closures that may be easier for adults to use than those on many types of rigid tubs.

Child-Guard®, a revolutionary closure that meets the legal requirements for child-resistant packaging as stated in the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, is changing the game for brands regulated by the EPA. Now, those brands have more packaging options than ever before. With a closure that passes child safety tests, pool chemical packagers are no longer limited to rigid pails. Instead, brands can opt for flexible pouches with a Child-Guard® closure—and be confident their products will stay out of the hands of children.

hth pre-measured water soluble pods uses flexible packaging with a child-guard closure

HTH® Pre-measured Water Soluble Pods™ pH Up is one example of a pool chemical product currently offered in flexible packaging with a Child-Guard® closure.

Learn more about Child-Guard® closures or see how they work.

3. Chemical Resistant Packaging

Ensuring the safety and integrity of pool chemical packaging goes beyond just incorporating child-resistant closures, it also requires materials that can withstand the corrosive nature of some harsh pool products.

There are a wide variety of water treatment products that serve specific pool maintenance tasks like pH adjustment, sanitation, and algae control. It’s important that packagers recognize their potential reactivity. Chlorine-based chemicals, among others, can be highly reactive, emphasizing the need for packaging that helps prevent the risk of leaks, spills, or chemical interactions that could affect efficacy or pose safety hazards.

Polypropylene, as an example, tends to be a popular choice when designing a chemical-resistant package due to its durability and resistance to high temperatures. For brands that want to create a more sustainable flexible pouch, high-density polyethylene is known for its robustness and resistance to stress cracking, making it another good option for storing many water treatment products.

4. The Retail Experience for Chemical Packaging

With retail aisles and e-commerce sites lined with pool chemicals in rigid containers and tubs, adopting an eye-catching package in a unique format is an easy way to get consumers’ attention and gain a competitive advantage—while also offering retailers several benefits.

Flexible packages accomplish both a unique, consumer-friendly format and a way to stand out, and with emerging technologies like flexographic printing and digital packaging, there are more ways than ever to differentiate your packaging in retail aisles.

shoppers at the pool store looking at pool chemical packaging

The pool chemical aisle is currently lined with rigid containers and tubs. Flexible packaging increases shelf appeal and offers the opportunity to distinguish your brand from those using rigid packaging formats.

However, it’s also important to consider the retailer experience of your product. Flexible pouches can alleviate some of retailers’ frustrations with traditional pool chemical packaging like pails, which are heavy and take up a lot of space, both on the shelf and in storage. Utilizing a flexible packaging format will make it easier for retailers to stock your product, which gives retailers additional incentive to carry your product.

Not only will moving to flexible pouches help you develop and retain retailer customers, it also creates cost efficiencies. Since flexible packaging is much lighter than its pail counterparts, you save on transportation costs, and because it’s smaller, more of your product can fit on store shelves.

In other words, moving to a flexible format is a win-win for both your brand and the retailer.

5. Sustainability in Chemical Packaging

Sustainability is increasingly top-of-mind for consumers across industries. Although millennials and Gen Zers are leading the sustainability conversation, it’s also becoming more important to key consumers in the pool market: Gen X and Baby Boomers. Business Wire shares that 55% of Gen Xers and 42% of Baby Boomers will pay more for sustainable products.

One way you can reach eco-minded consumers of any generation is to start with packaging. Source reduction is the current focus when it comes to sustainability in the pool chemical market.

With many consumers focused on the use of plastics, reducing the amount used in your packaging shows consumers you’re prioritizing sustainability (and their needs). Flexible packaging offers a format that requires fewer resources and provides additional sustainability benefits.

Compared to rigid containers, flexible packaging requires less plastic, water, and fossil fuels, meaning it's more sustainable. The FPA shares that a rigid pail for cat litter packaging—comparable in size and thickness to pool chemical packaging—consumes +1,429% more fossil fuel than the equivalent flexible package. The lightweight nature of flexible packaging also means fewer carbon emissions, increasing its overall sustainability.

That means you can show consumers you’re not only reducing plastic, but also working to reduce energy consumption and your carbon footprint.

Reach More Customers with Resealable Flexible Packaging

With new packaging technologies at our fingertips, it’s time to evaluate how we can innovate packaging design to provide added value to customers, whether manufacturers, retailers, or the end consumer. Get in touch with the Fresh-Lock team to learn more about options available based on your products and needs or get more insights on packaging for the pool market here.

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