What You Need to Know About Protective Packaging


There are a few common mistakes that people make about protective packaging that you can avoid. The mistakes that are made can be costly. There is a whole science behind packaging that many people do not know exist.

Packaging engineers are the experts when it comes to packaging and there are the first to admit that many companies go about things the wrong way when it comes to protective packaging. More packaging does not necessarily mean more protection.

The goal for any business should be to have high quality packaging instead of more of the low-quality packaging. Protective packaging solutions are available that are cost effective, high quality so that you can use less (and buy less) and that will protect your fragile goods through out the transportation and movement of those goods.

Protective Packaging Example

Quality packaging materials do not have to cost you an arm and a leg, you just need to know which supplier to turn to. Over packaging is a huge problem right now because it generates so much waste. It is expensive for the producer and it is an expense that the environment cannot afford.

Learning more about your options starts by connecting with a packaging specialist that can help you to optimize your protective packaging. There is a wide range of goods that can benefit from protective packaging material. Learn more now about your options.

Key Terminology

There are some key terms that you will want to get familiar with about packing protection like universal protective packaging. This first part of this article will be dedicated to help you understand what each packaging type has to offer and exactly what the terms mean.

  • Universal protective packaging – packaging that is widely accepted around the globe.
  • Shipping padding – shipping padding can be as simple as a padded envelope and as complex as large panels that surround an appliance. It is a cushion that protects the contents of a package.
  • Protective packaging material – The material that is used in protective packaging it can range from Styrofoam to wood to composites.
  • Protective pack – This can be a small or large “pack” that is filled with protective material and slipped inside packaging to provide shock absorption and more.
  • Packaging stuffing – This is the material that takes up any additional space left in a box or crate to keep the goods from shifting during transportation.
  • Padded materials – Can be used to wrap and protect goods to create a barrier between the goods and shipping container or interior packaging.
  • Packing peanuts – Pieces of either Styrofoam or cardboard that are shape like peanuts that are used for shipping box filler to protect goods during shipping.
  • Electronics packaging foam – Foam sheets or parts that are used to protect electronics.

Protective Packaging Materials

There is a wide range of both soft packing material and formed packaging that can be used under the heading of protective packaging products. Choosing the right style to protect your goods typically requires consultation with a packaging engineer or specialist.

Your Best Packaging Material Goals

Every producer has two goals in mind when it comes to which is the best packaging material for their operation. They want to save money and they want to use the best packing material to protect their goods.

Of course, both of those goals are very important and should be at the forefront of your decision making but there are more things to consider. What is your corporate culture when it comes to your operations relationship with the environment?

If you are focused on reducing waste and using planet friendly packaging material than you have more decisions to make about your packaging. For example, for businesses that are eco-conscious foam packing material may not be their best option. Instead of using foam packing materials for shipping (which is harder to recycle) the best packaging materials may be cardboard packing peanuts as packaging filler material and padded paper.

Padded packing paper are cushioning materials used in packaging that are recyclable friendly however shipping foam padding may provide more protection. The litany of available types of packing materials offered by the right supplier can seem endless and it can be hard to make a choice as to which is best for your organization but with a little expert advice choosing the right type that helps you reach all of your goals can be simplified.

Deciding on the Best Option

Making sure you are making the right choice for your products starts with an evaluation of what your product protection needs are. For example, if you are protecting electronics your needs will differ than if your products are appliances. The need will be similar in that you want your products to get from the assembly line to the end user in pristine condition but what it will take to do that will require different materials.

There are many different types of packing foam, packing sponge foam, shipping cushion, cardboard materials, paper materials and more than can be used to create the fragile packing materials protection that your items need.

Many producers go with the cheap foam options in the hopes that will save them money but that is not always the case. Cheap options often come with unwanted side effects like not providing the best in protection or creating far more waste then expected.

Cardboard Protective Packaging

In some cases, the best solution is to connect with a packaging engineer to create a custom packaging solution. The goal is to optimize your packaging, to use less, and not to sacrifice any protection. Ask yourself the following questions to decide which solution is best for your operation:

  • Do I want to invest in machinery to insert my packaging materials for shipping?
  • Do I have the floor space for machinery?
  • Do I want to keep my packaging strictly recyclable?
  • How much can I invest in my packaging materials?
  • How much labor can I expend in packaging?
  • What is the margin for waste?

Some packaging materials require the installation of equipment to make the process easier like loose foam packaging materials (peanuts and foam packing balls). Of course, you can expend labor to fill the shipping boxes up with the foam balls, but it is much easier to have a machine to blow it in.

Of course, optimizing your packaging would also mean that you would need less packaging materials to protect your goods. Perhaps before you commit to the machinery and using Styrofoam for packing boxes you can reduce the need for it all together.

Electronic Protective Packaging

Optimizing Protection and Packaging

Remember we started out talking about how less can be more when it comes to protective packaging. A lot of businesses are still not on board with that idea. When you optimize your packaging what you are doing is:

  • Getting more protection with less materials
  • Saving on money
  • Reducing waste

The ideal protective packaging typically happens in layers. For example, with electronics packaging, a good foam pad to protect the glass components is layer number one. Then adding, formed cardboard pieces to ensure the product fits tightly in its box is layer number two but you are still left with the shipping box to contend with.

A closely form fitted box that requires the smallest amount of foam packing beads will ensure that nothing shifts while it is being transported. Air is the enemy when it comes to shipping goods. Often it is best to go with the dense packing foam over the cheap packing foam, simply because you can use less of the dense packing foam.

While foam protection is considered the height of shipping protection because it is naturally shock absorbing, the less you can use the better especially if your corporate culture has a commitment to the environment in place.

What is The Deal with Foam and Recycling?

Foam is made from polystyrene sometimes referred to as plastic number six. Contrary to popular belief it is a recyclable material but typically not for the end user. Most municipal program do not accept Styrofoam peanuts or foam balls for recycling because they are not set up to recycle this material.

White foam packing material can be looked at as landfill waste which can cause issues for companies that are still using them. Ultimately, the less you can use of this material the better it will be for your organization’s reputation with the end user.

Different Protective Packaging



It is so important that you consult with an expert in packaging to ensure that your protective packaging in optimized to get the best value and to reduce the waste that your business generates. Today, savvy consumers are looking to do business with companies that are serious about their effect on the environment.

There are good alternatives to foam packaging that you may not even be aware of. Getting the protection that you need at an affordable price while keeping both consumers and regulatory bodies happy is possible. You just need to connect with the right packaging supplier that has the right solutions.