In today’s modern world, one can send a message almost instantly over the Internet. Making purchases on-line has also become increasingly popular, according to FedEx, holiday shipping is expected to surpass 12 percent growth over last year—260 million packages—mostly from on-line purchasing. This does not include the U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel Service or independent shippers. But one can not receive that package instantly through the computer yet, meaning that packaging will become very important as on-line businesses and individual sellers will need to find inexpensive packing and shipping materials to meet the need, but still do the job.
The old standby packing filler is packaging peanuts, the bane of adults, the delight of children who love the static electricity sticking to their clothes and seeing them thrown all over the floor. They are lightweight, but are strong enough that they do not break down while shipping. Environmentalists dislike them because they are made of Styrofoam and take forever to break down in landfills, if you use them or receive them, try recycling them to avert landfill use, such as children’s crafts or there are many stores that will take them to be reused. For those who want something better for the envirnoment there is a cornstarch-based packing peanut was developed that are biodegradable. They are just as effective at protecting as their plastic counterparts, but they are higher weight, create dust, and cost more.
Newspaper is an excellent alternative and is easily disposed of by burning in landfills. It is also very versatile, it can be used to wrap or stuff, or make it a filler by crinkling or shedding it. Just make sure that your product being packaged is pre-packaged to avoid getting newspaper ink on your gift, or find a blank newspaper material.
Bubble wrap is basically two sheets of plastic that have air-bubbles trapped between them, and an increasingly common activity is popping the bubble wrap. This material was designed to be used for impact absorption , or when an object is hit the air bubbles cushion the object. Also it takes energy to pop the bubbles when the something hits the object, the energy from the impact pops the bubbles instead of the item. This item is very popular, and very efficient at protecting items. But like the packing peanuts, bubble wrap is bad for the environment so, if you can resist the urge to pop the bubbles, reuse it as much as you can, but when it just can not be used any m o re check for any local shipping companies or recycling centers that will take the bubble wrap, every area has different rules and regulations about bubble wrap.
Four general packaging rules, as designated by the United Parcel Service, are: use corrugated cardboard for shipping, use adequate cushioning materials, such as those listed above, package sealers such as tape that will ensure your package stays sealed and proper labeling. Consider insuring higher priced items, especially those over $500. It doesn’t cost much to insure your package, generally just a few cents to a few dollars, depending on the amount insured.
Remember when you are packaging items to package for size and weight. Not even the best shipper will be able to protect a product or gift that is too heavy for the box its in. Make sure that your shipping carton is tough, rigid with flaps. Wrap items separately and cushion between them with bubble wrap, or another filler. Use strapping tape to close boxes, not masking or scotch tape. Label your box using capital letters, clearly written. Don’t forget your return address and a label if your package is fragile. Always use a duplicate label inside your carton.
Protect your packages from crime. Have packaged delivered to your office if you won’t be home to accept them. Ask a neighbor to look for the package and keep it with them until you return. Don’t use a signature on the front of a parcel unless absolutely necessary to avoid identity theft. Protect your packages from thieves by taking them directly to a post office or shipping facility, instead of putting them in your mailbox using the red flag for pickup.
- Internet Purchases Guide
- Packaging and Shipping Tips
- Giving Packing Peanuts a Second Chance
- Dry Ice Shipping
- Mail Order Food Safety
- Plastic Loose Fill Facts
- Packaging Tips and Techniques
- Packing and Shipping Pottery and Glass
- Perishable Goods Packaging Pointers
- Starch Packing Peanuts Waste
- Packaging for Shipping: Home-Based Businesses
- Wood Packing Material
- Origins of Paper Based Packaging (PDF)
- Shipping Insurance
- Life Cycle Inventory of Packaging Options for Shipment of Retail Mail-Order Soft Goods (PDF)
- Recycling Packaging Materials