Types of Packaging Material

Type-Product-Packaging-Material_1

Different types and sizes of Packaging protect products made from common materials. They are unique in that they not only provide protection during storage and shipping, but also serve as a marketing and sales tool.

Anybody who imports goods from overseas needs to know which packaging material is best for their product and budget. This guide will show you 9 common packaging materials, dunnage and packaging that has very specific functions, such as packaging for electronic components or products. Next In Pack will also discuss their costs, benefits and drawbacks as well as other details such how “green” they are.

Introduction to Packaging

The Advantages of Packaging

Importers selling packaged goods need to understand the importance of packaging.

The following summarizes the benefits of packaging:

  • Protects the body from harm that can result from many factors, including extreme temperatures, electrostatic discharge and vibration. It will also prevent contamination from dust and humidity, which can also cause damage to electronics.
  • Provides useful containment for small accessories and items that often come with consumer products such as a cell phone.
  • This provides protection for your goods in the event of theft or attempted theft during transport and delivery.
  • By incorporating elements like a handle or shape that lends itself for stacking, you can help distribution and warehousing personnel.
  • Sometimes, packaging can have a premium design that reflects the vendor’s relationship with the customer. (Think Apple’s packaging). It could also be made from sustainable materials, which are increasingly important to consumers today and influence their perception of the vendor.

Packaging Design

You can see the functionality, simplicity, and design of Apple’s packaging if we return to it. It not only provides storage for many accessories but also gives the client the feeling of having purchased a premium device. While it is common for companies spend a lot time designing their products’ packaging, how many of them put in the effort and time to do so to the same extent as Apple?

Not only is it important to ensure that your packaging offers the required protection, but paying attention also to design can help increase sales. An study published in Psychology & Marketing, 2013 showed that appealing packaging increased brain activity associated with an impulsive system as well as the feeling of reward. In essence, attractive packaging attracts customers to purchase the product. Packaging is more than just protection.

9 Types of Packaging Materials are available (suitable to smaller products).

Let’s take a look at the most common packaging materials that can be used in primary consumer packaging of packaged goods. These include containers for beverages or cosmetics as well as transport and industrial packaging to smaller products. We will also discuss their benefits and features.

1. Rigid Boxes

Rigid-boxes

Our friend receives the Apple iPhone box. This type of cardboard is called a “rigid box“. It’s not just Apple who uses this type of packaging. These rigid boxes are used to package premium items like watches, jewelry and accessories. These boxes are made of highly condensed paperboard, which is four times thicker than the standard folding carton. (This will most likely be a plain brown collapsible box that is quite light in weight). They are heavy and dense, with a rigid structure that you can feel when you knock them on the floor.

Importers will find them highly customizable. They can be printed with a matte/ glossy lamination exterior, given an AQ coating, varnished and flocking. Design and protection are more expensive than corrugated cardboard boxes or paperboard boxes. They’re therefore used to protect premium products.

Benefits

  • Strong
  • Premium ‘look and Feel’
  • It can be done by hand, and does not require any machinery
  • It is possible to add containment features such as platforms, windows and lids, hinges or compartments to your domes.
  • Ideal for products and goods in almost every shape and size

Drawbacks

  • Expensive
  • Collapsible is not a common feature, so more cargo to ship means higher costs.
  • Packaging that is not intended to be used by itself, but product-packaging with additional export/transit packaging to protect it

2. Paperboard

Paperboard

Paperboard is more like thick paper than cardboard. It is a cost-effective packaging option for small products. It’s used in everything from fast food packaging to product display boxes in supermarkets for packaged goods. It makes up for its lack of rigidity by being able to be cut, folded and printed with many finishes.

It can be made entirely from recycled material or wood pulp. There are multiple types of packaging depending on the final purpose. However, multi-ply packaging is more suitable for small consumer goods packaging that is flexible and can protect them. Paperboard is generally as affordable as paper. However, it can be printed to a premium texture or finish and used for retail packaging. It can be coated with antistatic chemicals to make electronics safe.

Benefits

  • Reasonably affordable
  • It can be used in a variety of ways
  • It can be done by hand, and does not require any machinery
  • It is recyclable and can be recycled using 100% sustainable material (paper), making it a green choice.
  • It is easy to cut and modify into many forms
  • Ideal for products and goods in almost every shape and size

Drawbacks

  • Lacks rigidity and strength, particularly in 1-ply paperboard
  • It may not be able to withstand moisture, dust and other contaminants depending on the finish.
  • It’s not as expensive as other packaging types

3. Chipboard

Chipboard

Chipboard packaging can be described as a type or paperboard, and should not be confused with MDF (Medium density fibreboard). The chipboard is made of reclaimed paper, which is bonded with glue or resin. The chipboard is very durable and made from recycled materials. It also has many similarities to paperboard. It can be easily modified and is also very affordable.

It is usually available in brown or white and depends on the density of its chipboard. It will be stronger and more rigid if it is denser, but it won’t reach the same rigidity as a rigid box. It can be printed on if it has been given a finish. It is lightweight and can be used for packaging such as bagged packaged goods, like cereal. It is, therefore, one of the most popular packaging types. Shipping boxes can also be made from heavy-duty chipboard, which is denser.

Benefits

  • It’s affordable
  • It can be used in a variety of ways
  • It can be done by hand, and does not require any machinery
  • It is recyclable and made from 100% sustainable material (paper), making it a green choice.
  • Ideal for products and goods in almost every shape and size
  • It is easy to cut and modify into many forms
  • Available in light- and heavyweight versions
  • Antistatic can be used to protect electronic devices
  • Can be printed

Drawbacks

  • Chipboard is lightweight and light weight.
  • It may not be able to withstand moisture, dust and other contaminants depending on the form and finish.
  • It’s not as expensive as other packaging types

4. Cardboard Corrugated

Cardboard-corrugated

This is what we call ‘cardboard’. It is used for shipping/export boxes and boxes for storing items. However, it is also used for retail packaging, boxed packed food products and even take-out pizza cartons. Cardboard is actually a multi-layered paper. The corrugated portion refers to the fluted medium that provides insulation, strength, and protection. It lies between an inner heavyweight paper and an outer heavyweight paper in a type of’sandwich.

You can see that there are many types of corrugated “fluting” available. A package with more fluted layers will be stronger and more rigid (as well as higher prices). Recycled paper is used in the production of cardboard, making it affordable and long-lasting. You can cut and shape cardboard. Many flat-pack boxes can be shaped and assembled by hand into final packaging. It can also be used to make mockups of components or products, like furniture, in some cases.

Benefits

  • It’s affordable
  • Wide usage
  • It can be done by hand, and does not require any machinery
  • It is recyclable and made from 100% sustainable material (paper), making it a green choice.
  • It is easy to cut and modify into many forms
  • Antistatic coating protects electronics
  • Printable and available in many finishes, including matte/gloss laminate, varnish, embossed, and others.
  • Ideal for products and goods in almost every shape and size

Drawbacks

  • Multiple walled boards can have a higher price
  • If not finished, they can be subject to moisture and humidity
  • It doesn’t usually have a premium finish or look.

5. Flexible Pouches

Flexible-Pouches

Flexible pouches are usually made from foil or plastic, but they can also be made from other materials. They are used for packaging in many applications. They are used in packaging for food and beverages, as well industrial liquid packaging. These products can be found in retail stores and supermarket shelves.

Flexible pouches for food packaging have been extremely popular in recent years. These pouches can be resealed. These pouches have a lower environmental impact and are cheaper to make than other packaging materials like paperboard, metal and glass. Flexible pouches are used to package food products such as granola and energy drinks, soups, cookies, cakes, and other snacks. Flexible pouches have been adopted by the industrial hemp market. These flexible pouches are used to package cannabis and hemp products like whole flower hemp and other edibles.

Benefits

  • Increased Product Freshness and Life
  • Cost Effective
  • Customizable According to Need and Requirement
  • Eco Friendly
  • Attractive
  • Reduced Shipping Expense
  • Quality Driven

6. Plastics

Plastic-Packaging

Although plastic has its critics, as it has an environmental impact that grabs more attention, it is still an excellent packaging material that has almost replaced traditional materials such as glass, ceramic, or wood in many applications. Flexible enough to be made into heavy-duty export/shipping cartons (as shown above) or delicate retail packaging such as this thermoformed plastic blister package:

Plastics and packaging are inextricably linked because plastic is strong, durable, and resistant to dirt and moisture (anti-fouling). It can also be molded into any shape using processes like injection molding. Many plastic boxes can be recycled, even though they are very durable. Plastics, unlike cardboard, can be used to create air- and watertight containers. This means that they are suitable for standard items as well as food storage and packaging. (Just think how many ingredients are stored in plastic).

Plastics are often more affordable than natural materials from sustainable sources. It can hold the item if it is small enough. However, due to its flexible and thin nature, you shouldn’t expect much protection. They are a great way to protect the item from damage and keep it safe (mostly sealable). Plastic can be found in many colors to match one’s brand. It can also come in clear, which can be useful for retail packaging, where products can be seen and stored safely.

Benefits

  • It’s affordable
  • Robust or light-weight
  • Durable, waterproof, and airtight
  • Can be printed or painted
  • It comes in many forms, including thick boxes and delicate films

Drawbacks

  • Questionable environmental impact
  • Specialists can often take in’recyclable plastics’ and not be able to recycle them.
  • Most cases don’t feel premium.
  • This is not the best choice for fragile and rectangular-shaped products

7. Foil-sealed Bags

Foil-sealed-Bags

Foil sealed bags can be used to package small items such as food, apparel, textiles and in some cases, delicate items like computer HDDs or silicon chips (such a RAM set). These bags are made from PET film and an aluminum foil layer. While many of them are metallic in color, you can also print your branding on them. This is an HDD enclosed in a conductive foil bag.

Foil sealed bags can be used to package small items such as food, apparel, textiles and in some cases, delicate items like computer HDDs or silicon chips (such a RAM set). These bags are made from PET film and an aluminum foil layer. While many of them are metallic in color, you can also print your branding on them. This is an HDD enclosed in a conductive foil bag.

This packaging has a strong seal that protects it from any outside contamination. It is also used for ingredient or food packaging. It can be made to conduct electricity and protect against electrostatic buildup. Because it is delicate, it is often used in packaging for environments that are not likely to take a lot abuse such as retail stores’ shelves. Because the vacuum sealing process naturally condenses the product inside, foil sealed bags can be a great choice for storage where space is limited.

Benefits

  • It’s affordable
  • Condenses products to reduce space
  • Protects products against UV light, moisture, oxygen
  • Can be printed or painted
  • This may be a suitable type of dunnage
  • Protect electronics in certain forms

Drawbacks

  • Plastic bags are not the most sustainable option. The foil lining makes them difficult to recycle with other plastics.
  • It is associated with basic food packaging and not suitable for premium products
  • Can’t provide protection against impact, dropping, crushing, etc
  • This is not the best choice for fragile and rectangular-shaped products

8. Polybags

Polybags

Polybags can be described as transparent or clear plastic bags that are used for shipping and packaging specific consumer goods. Poly bags are generally made of polyethylene, which is one of the most common types of plastic packaging.

The average thickness of polybags is 1-6 mils. There are however, polybags that can be made in different thicknesses. Specialty plastics can also be ordered. Because of their small body, slim shape, great flexibility, reflectivity, hand-feel and smoothness, polybags are very popular. Most commonly, polybags are used in packaging for various consumer products such as t-shirts and industry magazines.

Benefits

  • Cost Effective Solution
  • Short Production Time
  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Versatile Uses

9. Envelopes / Bubble Mailers

Envelopes-Bubble-Mailers

Envelopes or bubble mailers can be used to ship small items, such as gadgets, clothing, and computer components. They are primarily made of paper and provide low-cost packaging options. In the case of bubble mailers the integrated bubble wrap that lines the envelope provides good insulation and protection for the goods. Envelopes are an affordable packaging option for vendors who need to ship a lot of products via post.

There are many options available to you, including card-backed envelopes that prevent bending, peel and seal, self sealing, gummed and self-sealing. The sealant strip makes peel and seal envelopes very secure. You can also customize envelopes with your logo, branding and colors if you are willing to invest a bit more. Consumers who value eco-friendly brands will appreciate receiving recyclable paper or card envelopes as long as they offer adequate protection. (Think Amazon’s card wallet-style cards envelopes) They can also be recycled at the kerb.

Benefits

  • There are many sizes available ( common envelope sizes include C4 – A4 size and C5 – A5 size. C3 – A3 size.
  • Bubble mailers provide greater protection than bulky boxes and can be used to protect your goods.
  • Low cost
  • Standard paper/card envelopes can be recycled and are sustainable
  • You can personalize envelopes with your logos and branding
  • Bubble mailers are waterproof and can be used for delivery in areas where the envelope might be wet.

Drawbacks

  • Bubble mailers can’t be easily recycled
  • Potentially, not the best image or feel
  • It provides limited protection and is not able to withstand extreme heat or humidity.
  • Can lack security
  • This is not the best choice for fragile and rectangular-shaped products

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