Choosing the best shipping materials to protect your products is important. Packages are often tossed around, stuffed into crammed trucks and exposed to the elements on their route. To ensure that your products make it to your customers safely, it’s important to choose the best materials for shipping. With so many types of protective packaging options available, it can be difficult to decide which one is best.
While durability and effective protection is important, you also have to take into consideration the labor time and costs of production, the sustainability and the consistency of the various types of protective packaging options. For instance, look at the pros and cons of these popular shipping materials.
Table of Contents
- Corrugated Inserts
- Air Bags and Bubble Wrap
- Molded Foam
- Foam in a Bag
- Fiber Interior Packaging
- Why Fiber is One of the Best Shipping Materials
Corrugated inserts are cost-effective inserts made from corrugated cardboard. They are made to fit inside shipping boxes to separate and protect products. Corrugated cardboard is made of three layers, which makes it very sturdy.
Corrugated inserts are environmentally friendly because they are biodegradable, which means that they will break down into natural elements when they are exposed to air, moisture or light. Corrugated cardboard is made from a combination of virgin fibers and recycled fibers, which makes it recyclable as well. These inserts are also less likely to break or tear during shipping than other packaging options.
Corrugated inserts are not custom-fit. As a result, the packaging process is often labor-intensive for this type of protective packaging because the objects to be shipped must be arranged in a way that fits the inserts.
Honeycomb mailers are lightweight, foam-padded mailers that are similar to bubble-padded mailers. Their padding protects objects from damage during shipping, and they are among the most cost-effective mailing options.
Honeycomb mailers are consistent and easy to fill. They are pre-padded, which means that the packaging process will be faster since you don’t have to add any extra protection for objects when you prepare them for shipping. Since they are lightweight, they are also easy to store.
Though honeycomb mailers have padding to protect objects, their protection is not completely reliable. These mailers are still vulnerable to crushing because they can get stuck under heavy boxes during the shipping process. They also carry the risk of being punctured or torn, and they can be vulnerable to water damage. In addition, they are not designed to carry large, heavy or multiple items, which limits the type and amount of products that can be shipped.
Air Bags and Bubble Wrap
Bubble wrap and air bags are plastic fillers designed to prevent damage from collisions. Shippers wrap and tape bubble wrap around fragile goods, and they use air bags to provide cushioning around objects.
Bubble wrap and air bags are reusable and cost-effective. They can be used multiple times in the shipping process, and their low weight helps reduce shipping costs. These packaging materials are also versatile, which means that they can be arranged in various ways to fit around different products or objects.
While bubble wrap and air bags are effective at protecting objects from damage, they are not custom-fit or consistent. As such, each shipping job involves a labor-intensive process of arranging air bags or cutting bubble wrap and then wrapping and taping the objects to be shipped. These packaging materials are also bulky and therefore difficult to store, and they are not considered eco-friendly since they’re neither curbside recyclable nor biodegradable.
Molded foam is a packaging option that custom-fits the products being shipped. Here, the foam is shaped to fit objects perfectly, which makes it highly effective at protecting them during shipping.
The customized shape of molded foam makes it consistent since it fits the product without the need for extra padding, so it is easier to use and cuts down on labor costs.
Molded foam is very bulky, which makes it difficult to store. Another disadvantage to molded foam packaging is that it is not curbside recyclable or biodegradable, which means that it has a negative impact on the environment.
Foam in a Bag
Foam-in-a-bag is a type of shipping packaging technology that molds to fit products. High-density polyethylene bags filled with chemicals mold around products to form inserts through a chemical process. When activated by the pressure of the product, the chemicals inside the bag mix together and produce foam that expands to fit around the item, creating a fitted protective insert.
The benefit of foam-in-a-bag packaging is that it is custom-fit to products and requires only moderate labor. Since the foam molds around products, it provides optimal protection. It requires some work to place an object on the bag and begin the molding process, but it is not labor-intensive overall.
Since each bag has to be molded for each product, this type of packaging is not consistent. Foam-in-a-bag packaging is also not biodegradable or recyclable.
Fiber Interior Packaging
Custom-molded fiber interior packaging uses interior fiber inserts to protect products during shipping. It is custom-fit to products, made from recycled paper and designed to be highly resistant to damage. It can protect a wide variety of products, and it keeps them in place for added stability.
Why Fiber Is One of the Best Shipping Materials
Great Northern Fiber Interior Packaging™ is the best option for your shipping needs because it custom-fits your products. This customization makes for an easy drop-and-go packaging process that will save time and money on labor. The packaging process is consistent, simple, quick and easy. You only need to place your products into the custom-fit fiber insert, place the insert inside of a corrugated box and then place a second fiber insert on top of your products.
The top and bottom inserts provide durable protection for fragile and heavy objects alike, including stainless steel items. With other materials, stainless steel items can easily become dented during the shipping process, but inserts from Fiber Interior Packaging keep them safe and damage-free. Our inserts also keep products securely in place during the shipping process since they are customized for a precise fit. Our inserts are perfect for products such as jars, bottles, cans, power tools, small engines, outdoor equipment, exercise equipment and more.
Our fiber inserts are easy to store because they are compact and easy to nest, which can save a substantial amount of storage space. They are also made from environmentally friendly used corrugated cardboard and newsprint, which means that they are biodegradable and 100% recyclable.
Create Your Custom Interior Packaging
If you’re ready to optimize your shipping process, contact Fiber Interior Packaging to learn how we can help. We will work with you to create fiber inserts that are customized to fit your products. When you choose our inserts for your packaging needs, you are choosing the best type of shipping packaging — one that is quick and easy to use, saves you money and time, and has a positive impact on the environment.
Fiber Interior Packaging provides a simple, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to other packaging options. We will tailor inserts to fit your products and keep them safe on their journey to your customers so that you can guarantee customer satisfaction. Get in touch with a specialist to tell us about your product and learn how we can help you ship it, or give us a call at 800.925.2626.