We can find containers in our homes, schools, and places of work. For example, food and nonfood products are sold in containers. A favourite container of students and teachers is the wastebasket.
Of course, containers are an important part of many professions: painters, doctors, biologists, photographers, chemists, and others use many kinds of specialized containers.
In this short article, it is not possible to discuss all kinds of containers. Therefore, let us look at some of the simple and basic containers. We will name them, identify their shapes and the materials they are made of, and say a few words about lids and tops.
A can is a metal container. It is usually cylindrical in shape, and may have a paper label on the outside. The name of the product is printed on the label or on the metal itself. Cans open in different ways, depending
on the product.
We need a can opener to open some cans; this utensil cuts the metal. Paint cans have lids. Beverage cans have a pop top or a ring top. Spray cans have a push-button top. Cans are durable containers. In other words, they are strong and long-lasting.
Boxes and Cartons
Boxes and cartons are similar containers. Cartons are usually made of card-board (heavy paper) and, as a result, are not very durable.
Boxes can be made of cardboard, paper, wood, metal, or plastic. Boxes and cartons have rectangular or square sides. Some of these containers, such as jewelry boxes and egg cartons, have tops that open and close with hinges. Other boxes and cartons have removable tops (i.e.,*you
can take these tops off).
A jar is a glass or ceramic container. It has a wide mouth (top opening) and no neck. Some jars have tops or covers called screw-on-lids and others have lids that fit inside the mouth. Some jars (e.g., jars you see in supermarkets) are very practical because they hold many different products, and because we can clean them and use them again. Jars are durable but breakable. In other words, they are easy to break by accident.
A bottle, like a jar, is a container that is usually made of glass. These days, however, plastic bottles are also very common. Bottles are different from jars in one important way: a bottle has a small mouth and a neck, but a jar has a wide mouth and no neck. Bottles have caps or tops which either screw on or snap on. Bottles hold beverages (juice, soda, etc.) and other liquid food such as soup. They are also used to
contain photographic, industrial, and medical chemicals.
A bag is a flexible container. That is, it is soft and movable. Many bags are made of paper, foil, or thin plastic. Such bags are not durable containers – we usually throw them away. We close bags in several
ways, for example, by folding them, by tying them with something, and, in the case of plastic bags, by knotting them. Bags come in many 50 sizes and contain many different products.
The containers mentioned in this article are just a few of many hundreds of different containers. We have not talked about tubes, tubs, bins, baskets, vats, vases, casks, drums, flasks, trays, or tanks. We have not mentioned containers that we use in cooking and serving food.
We have not talked about containers by profession: painters use cans for paint; photographers use bottles and trays for chemicals; chemists use beakers and test tubes. What containers do you have around you in
your everyday life? What containers do you use in your profession?
Can you imagine a world without containers?