The Best Type of Protective Packaging for Your Products

Packaging is one of the most important parts of transporting your products – even more so when it is protective packaging, and not just aesthetic packaging. Protective packaging ensures that your products arrive intact, undamaged, and in a condition that will satisfy your customers. But with all of the different options out there, it may be hard to choose the right packaging for your products. So, today, we’ll be diving into the best type of protective packaging for your products!

When to Use Protective Packaging 

First things first: when do you need to use protective packaging? Basically, you want to use protective packaging whenever you have a product that you want to protect from damage during shipping. Obviously, this includes fragile items such as china, glass, electronics, and other breakables. However, it may also include items that need to be kept in pristine condition. Items such as art, furniture, antiques, produce, and even hazardous materials. By choosing the right type of protective packaging for your product, you could save a lot of money and time. All while providing your product with even better protection. 

Types of Protective Packaging

Now that we’ve covered when you should use protective packaging, let’s dive into the details of the different types of protective packaging.

There are five main types of protective packaging you should familiarize yourself with:

  • Packing peanuts, aka loose fill
  • Bubble wrap
  • Air pillows, aka air bags
  • Packing paper
  • Packing foam

Each of these types suite different types of packages, which is why you want to read up on how to use them. 

Packing Peanuts (Loose Fill)

Packing peanuts, or loose fill, are just what they sound like: small pieces of protective packaging used to fill up empty space around and between fragile products. Because of their small size, they are able to cushion items – especially in irregularly shaped containers that may not be able to fit other types of protective packaging. On the upside, they are lightweight, affordable, and resistant to moisture and temperature changes.  On the downside, they can attract static, which may create electric charges and possibly harm electronics. In terms of material, packing peanuts are typically made from Styrofoam, which contains styrene and benzene. These petroleum byproducts make packing peanuts non-biodegradable and hard to recycle. They are also harmful to the environment in general. However, there are some packing peanuts that are made from biodegradable materials, such as corn starch. These might be harder to find, since styrofoam packing peanuts are much more common, but they are exponentially better for the environment. In general, packing peanuts are best for glass, metals, and other fragile, irregularly shaped items.

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap, or air cellular cushioning material, is a flexible and durable sheet that contains bubbles of air. Because of its flexibility, you can wrap it around items of any shape. And because of its durability, you can use it to wrap pointed or sharp objects. Due to its bubbles of air, bubble wrap is amazing at insulating items, as well as protecting against any vibrations or shocks. It is lightweight, affordable, and comes in a variety of bubble sizes and forms – including anti-static bubble wrap specially made for electronics! However, it is bulky, and can only protect against light shocks.

In terms of material, bubble wrap is made from polyethylene (PET) film, which makes it resistant to changes in moisture and temperature, but makes it hard to recycle. However, compared to other plastic protective packaging, bubble wrap is highly reusable, so it can be a more sustainable option if you really need to use plastic. In general, bubble wrap is best for fragile and irregularly shaped objects, such as glass, furniture, art, and electronics.

Air Pillows (Air Bags)

Air pillows, or air bags, fit their name exactly: plastic bags inflated with air. They are used to fill empty space in a package, and are typically supplied in rolls that you can either use as sheets or break up into individual bags. The upside to air bags is that they’re lightweight, affordable, and good at insulating and absorbing shocks. The downside to air bags is that they’re bulky, static-prone, and vulnerable to sharp objects.

In terms of material, air pillows are still made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) film, which is a fossil fuel byproduct. This material can only be recycled in special recycling facilities. However, if it is reused or recycled, it can be a decent option if you need to use plastic. In general, air pillows are best for breakables, produce, hazardous materials, and anything without sharp corners.

Packing Paper

Packing paper is a category of paper that is thick and strong, with craft paper being the most commonly used type. It usually comes in rolls, which makes them easy to store. The paper is typically scrunched up or used with an adhesive to protect products. The advantages of using packing paper are that it is lightweight, affordable, and easy to use for either wrapping objects or filling empty spaces. Some disadvantages are that packing paper is not resistant to moisture or extreme heat. It will also get dusty, and may not absorb shocks if it isn’t packed densely.

In terms of material, packing paper is typically made from wood pulp or sulfate pulp. This makes it reusable, recyclable, and even sustainable, if sourced responsibly. In general, packing paper is best used for silverware, china, glass, art, and other small, smooth objects.

Packing Foam Packaging

Packing foam is one of the biggest categories for packaging materials. It includes foam sheets, rolls, and egg crates, among others. It is easily cut, making it ideal for items that need customized packaging. There are also a variety of choices for the firmness of the packing foam, so you can definitely find a foam dense enough for your product’s protection. It provides protection from shocks, dust, moisture, temperature, UV rays, and even static electricity if it is coated. It is also lightweight, low-odor, and crack-resistant. With that being said, it is bulkier and more expensive than Styrofoam products, such as packing peanuts. And in terms of material, packing foam is typically made from polyurethane or polyethylene (PET), making it hard to recycle. In general, packing foam is best for china, glass, electronics, and other expensive products that need the utmost protection.

Finding a Responsible Carrier with GoShip.Com

Once you know what kind of protective packaging, it’s time to find a responsible carrier who will do their best to keep your package safe. Because even with all the protective packaging in the world, mishandling might still lead to damaged items! The fastest way to do this is to use a shipping marketplace like GoShip.com, which lets you filter through hundreds of carriers with one simple search. 

You can then compare your results by services and prices – all without talking to a freight broker.
So what are you waiting for? Hurry over to GoShip.com, and get your free quote!


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