When it comes to packaging, there are numerous ways that items can be packaged for shipping and even more options for packaging materials. But how can you know what items are best to use for your packaging? Will you choose the easiest items to package, the cheapest items, or the items that are best for the environment. Beyond those three subcategories, there are many packaging materials and types.

In this post, we’ll be breaking down all the different types of packaging so that you can decide what’s best for you. Let’s dive in!

Types of Packaging

Product packaging and shipping packaging: there are so many different types that can be used. Here are 6 of the best and most common materials used for packaging.

Corrugated Boxes

corrugated boxes

Corrugated boxes have been used for so many years now; they’ve become a staple in the industry. You can expect that these boxes are going to be around forever. When corrugated boxes arrive, they’ll either be in flat stacks that you’ll have to put together yourself or preformed into the squares or rectangles that you’ll be using them in.

When filling corrugated boxes, you might need to use something like packing peanuts (the styrofoam that always makes a mess) or bubble wrap. What you choose might depend on packaging regulations for your industry, what type of item you’re shipping, or what’s cheaper for you.

Common items packaged in corrugated cardboard include most electronics, DVDs, consumer goods, pre-packaged food items, and other items that might need to be shipped.

Stretch Film

Along with cardboard boxes, stretch film is one of the most common packaging materials in the world. Companies that have a shipping department or a warehouse will almost always have a stretch film station where they can wrap the film around their product to keep them contained on the pallet during shipping.

Load containment is what you’re looking for this material to help you with. Depending on what you’re looking to contain on a pallet, you might try to achieve load containment in a few different ways. If you’re a large business that ships a lot of inventory, you might consider looking for a fully automated machine wrap system. While these machines do cost a lot upfront, they can help save you money in the long run. But, if you don’t expect your operation to get that big, you might be able to get it all done by hand instead.

Here’s a great resource with more information on stretch film and what types to look for depending on different uses.

Shrink Film

Shrink film is the type of packaging that you find annoying as you try to dig into a brand new board game, DVD, or a pack of gum. It’s the plastic wrap around a frozen pizza or other frozen food items that keep foreign elements out and all the goods inside. Unlike stretch film, it doesn’t stretch but actually shrinks around the product. For that reason, you might call it shrink wrap.

There are many different shrink film types that we won’t take the time to get into all of them. But it’s extremely important that you know what type of formula you’re using and that you’re using it correctly. The wrong use of shrink wrap could lead to packaging malfunctions, safety hazards, and ultimately poor product performance.

Bundling Film

Bundling film is simply a type of shrink film used to create bundles of items that are already packaged. These bundles could be made up of the same item altogether or a few different items.

When bundling multiple items together, they’re wrapped in the film, and then the film shrinks around them to hold them all together. Items that you might commonly see in bundling film are water bottles, boxes of tissues, and other simple pre-packaged items that need to be held together in larger lots.

Shrink Bands

Packaging Materials - Types & Which To Use 1

Shrink bands or seal bands are an essential part of the packaging world. In another world, they might just be used to keep the lids on bottles and jars, but today shrink bands help provide a sense of security for consumers as a form of tamper-evident packaging. Because shrink bands are often used on products that humans eat, drink, or ingest in the form of medicine, following strict protocols is extremely important for this packaging.

Shrink bands are applied to the lids or caps of the item that they’re intended to protect in the form of thin plastic. That plastic is then treated with heat in a way that causes it to shrink in a uniform way around the top of the bottle and the cap, thus creating a tamper-evident barrier.

Flexible Pouches

plastic pouch

Made of either foil or plastic bags, flexible pouches can contain several different products. These flexible pouches will often contain food such as granola, energy items, coffee, and nuts. Some of the advantages of these packages include the user-friendly nature of a resealable bag, ease of packaging, and versatility.

How to Choose the Right Packaging

Before you can choose the packaging material you’ll use, you need to determine your options. There are many different packaging suppliers out there, but not every supplier will be able to get you what you need in a timely manner. Be sure to check with your packing provider to see what’s available to you.

The packaging you choose might also depend on what you’re looking to protect during shipping. If it’s something small and breakable, then you might be able to come up with a great way to use bubble wrap. If an item is much larger, then you might not have all of the same options. For instance, shipping a chair doesn’t always lend itself well to creative or artful packaging. But, there are definitely ways that you can package it successfully or in a way that is best.

 

Scout can help you keep your warehouse organized and your packages kept track of. We provide warehouse management technologies that allow you to manage shipments, employees, and stock. Learn more about topShelf today! Be sure to also check out our blog for more info on warehousing and improving your e-commerce or warehouse business.

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